Thursday, June 10, 2010

Google's AdMob appears out of luck, and out of iOS

When Apple first announced iAd, its mobile advertising "arm" which resulted from its acquisition of Quattro Wireless, our first thought was "no more AdMob on the iPhone." That appeared to be the case after Apple changed its developer agreement in April, by crippling ad networks' abilities to track user data.

However, at last week's D8 conference, Steve Jobs seemed to indicate that the agreement would be changed again, clarifying and assuaging any worries. It was changed, but not so fast, though.

All Things D, and AdMob itself, noticed the changes and what they really meant. Basically, they ban AdMob, though it takes some translation. Here's what section 3.3.9, the pertinent part of the developer agreement, says:
3.3.9 You and Your Applications may not collect, use, or disclose to any third party, user or device data without prior user consent, and then only under the following conditions:

- The collection, use or disclosure is necessary in order to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application. For example, without Apple’s prior written consent, You may not use third party analytics software in Your Application to collect and send device data to a third party for aggregation, processing, or analysis.

- 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.
It's obvious: as AdMob is owned by Google, which is a "developer of ... mobile operating systems," it's out. Naturally, AdMob didn't take to kindly to the translation, and AdMob founder Omar Hamoui replied thusly (in part):
This change is not in the best interests of users or developers. In the history of technology and innovation, it’s clear that competition delivers the best outcome. Artificial barriers to competition hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress. [...]

[...] we’ll be speaking to Apple to express our concerns about the impact of these terms.

As if Google and Apple weren't already at war, it seems things have just escalated. Of course, it would have been surprising if Apple did not take this stance, based on past history (and iAd). Readers, your opinion on the latest Google - Apple salvo?

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