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Apple Looking To Squeeze Out Admob?

June 9, 2010

With Apple releasing iAds shortly, the amount and type of advertising on the iPhone will be changing greatly. Many wondered how Apple would respond to Google's acquisition of AdMob and it looks like we now know the answer. Contained in section 3.3.9 of the latest iOS developer agreement, Apple placed the following wording:
The collection, use or disclosure is for the purpose of serving advertising to Your Application; is provided to an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads (for example, an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple would not qualify as independent); and the disclosure is limited to UDID, user location data, and other data specifically designated by Apple as available for advertising purposes.
This statement seems particularly pointed at, since they are owned by Google, a developer of mobile operating systems. If this agreement was enforced as written, it would completely eliminate AdMob from the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Apple's argument is likely that they don't want a competitor having a backdoor into the iPhone and collecting usage and marketing data which Google can use in their own development. However, the CEO of AdMob doesn't see it that way and had this to say on his blog:
This change threatens to decrease – or even eliminate – revenue that helps to support tens of thousands of developers. The terms hurt both large and small developers by severely limiting their choice of how best to make money.  And because advertising funds a huge number of free and low cost apps, these terms are bad for consumers as well.
Clearly the CEO of AdMob is not exactly impartial, but it is true that eliminating one of the largest mobile Ad companies from the #1 mobile device can have some negative impact to competition. There is no response in his post about Apple's concerns over sharing marketing data with the parent company which could be interpreted to mean that those concerns were well founded. Google gives almost everything they do away for free in exchange for the ability to collect massive amounts of data that equate to a marketing goldmine. Perhaps one of Google's primary reasons for acquiring AdMob was to be able to collect more data and this agreement hits right at the heart of that. Only a few people know what Google truly has planned. Even if their purposes border on sinister, that does not mean that it is illegal. With the coffers that Google has, one can easily predict that if Apple enforces the policy as stated, we will have some exciting court proceedings ahead of us. [via Admob Blog and AllThingsD]