Apple’s new iOS agreement already attracting Antitrust attention

Thu, Jun 10, 2010

Legal, News

Wow, that sure didn’t take long at all. The Financial Times is already reporting that Federal Regulators are already planning to investigate the ramifications of Apple’s new developer agreement which effectively prohibits rivals such as Google and Microsoft from getting into the market for mobile ads on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

According to two people close to the situation, US regulators have already taken an interest in Appleā€™s actions, though it is not yet clear whether it will be left to the Federal Trade Commission, which carried out the recent Google investigation, or the Department of Justice to take an investigation forward.

If you recall, Apple updated developer agreement gives the green light for analytics companies to collect user and device data with user consent, but with one significant caveat – the collection of said information can only be used “for the purpose of serving advertising to your application” and limited to independent advertising services whose “primary business is serving mobile ads.” Now that would appear to push Google out of the equation, but just in case there was any room open for interpretation, Apple kindly clarifies the matter, stating that any advertising service “owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems.. other than Apple” does not qualify.

This update, which should keep other analytics companies satisfied, is an obvious attempt to keep AdMob off of the iPhone. AdMob, of course, was recently purchased by Google for $750 million. The updated iOS developer agreement prompted AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui to lash out at Apple, asserting that the move is detrimental to both small and large developers “by severely limiting their choice of how best to make money.” Hamoui promised to bring up his concerns to Apple, but giving Google access to user info and device data doesn’t seem like something Apple is willing to compromise on.

They have been friendly before, but make no mistake about it, they’re cold hard rivals now.


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