On Monday, Apple revised the terms of its iOS developer agreement to once again allow analytics companies to collect pertinent data with user consent. Apple’s nuanced change, however, seemingly leaves AdMob, which was recently acquired by Google, SOL.
Section 3.3.9 of Apple’s updated developer agreement now reads:
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 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.
You see that? Apple’s new agreement only lets companies play the analytics game if their “primary business is serving mobile ads.” Apple even goes so far as to explicitly rule out advertising services that operate as wholly owned subsidiaries if the primary business of the parent isn’t in serving mobile ads. Translation? AdMob, now under the auspices of Google, is effectively prohibited from being used in iPhone apps.
Today, AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui responded to Apple’s recent change:
Apple proposed new developer terms on Monday that, if enforced as written, would prohibit app developers from using AdMob and Google’s advertising solutions on the iPhone. These advertising related terms both target companies with competitive mobile technologies (such as Google), as well as any company whose primary business is not serving mobile ads. 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.
Let’s be clear. 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.
With Federal Regulators seemingly breathing down Apple’s neck for innocuous business practices, it appears that Apple is now giving them something to legitimately investigate.