A few days before Steve Jobs intro’d the iPad, a mobile analytics firm called Flurry reported that they were seeing Apple’s as-of-yet unannounced tablet device show up in their data logs. Using code embedded in a number of iPhone apps, Flurry was also able to pinpoint the location of these devices to Apple’s Cupertino campus. At the time, Flurry observed that there were approximately 50 separate devices and about 200 applications being tested.
Flash forward to mid-April where Apple spruced up its iPhone developer agreement to limit the type of information analytic companies such as Flurry were allowed to have sent back to them. At Tuesday’s All Things D Conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs explained the impetus behind the change.
Well we learned this really interesting thing. Some company called Flurry had data on devices that we were using on our campus — new devices. They were getting this info by getting developers to put software in their apps that sent info back to this company! So we went through the roof. It’s violating our privacy policies, and it’s pissing us off! So we said we’re only going to allow analytics that don’t give device information and therefore are solely for the purpose of advertising.
[Apps] can’t send data out to an analytics firm who is going to sell it to make money and publish it to tell everybody that we have devices on our campus that we don’t want people to know about. That, we don’t need to do.
Jobs did concede that there are legitimate reasons why app developers need data analytics, but said that users need to be made aware that their data is being shared.
“After we calm down,” Jobs explained, “we’re willing to talk to some of these analytics firms. But it’s not today.”
Earlier this afternoon, Flurry’s VP of Marketing, Peter Farago, addressed Jobs’ remarks.
Farago explained that they are aware of Apple’s concerns, have been taking steps to address them, and have been in communication with Apple. Farago also noted that Flurry is just as concerned with user privacy as Apple is, and highlighted the recent announcement of their Privacy First Initiative as an example.
“On the issue of device data,” Farago explains, “we are updating our analytics service to comply with section 3.3.9 of the Apple 4.0 PLA. We will not collect device data. All in all, the changes required to be in compliance will have little impact on the usefulness we provide to developers about how to improve their applications, and how to continue to increase consumer satisfaction.”
Farago concludes, “Regarding sharing some specific aggregated usage statistics, to which Apple is opposed, we will comply with their wishes.”