updated 01:05 pm EDT, Wed June 9, 2010
AdMob says iOS rules anticompetitive
AdMob founder Omar Hamoui today responded to Apple's updated iOS ad rules with a complaint that Apple was engaging in anti-competitive practices. The executive of the now Google-owned advertiser claimed that it could reduce the revenue for "tens of thousands" of app developers by limiting what AdMob could do for ads and would restrict app writers' choices for advertisers. He also inferred that it would hurt users by reducing the number of free or low-cost apps.
"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," Hamoui said. "Artificial barriers to competition hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress."
One iPhone developer serves as an example, he said. An unnamed person developed an ad-supported app as a hobby and made "multi-million dollar" revenue from AdMob that let him create a full business.
Hamoui promised to talk to Apple directly to try and head off the new terms.
Apple's restrictions on companies owned by competitors don't ban AdMob itself but would prevent it from collecting information about devices and users, hobbling the amount of feedback it can give to advertisers versus other platforms. The rules are ostensibly to prevent a rival like Google from using AdMob data to its advantage in Android, but critics have already accused Apple of simply trying to favor its own iAd by taking out a major challenger. Medialets and other companies devoted primarily to mobile ads will still have free rein on iOS hardware.
The revised rules come at a particularly risky time for Apple as it's being investigated for its competitive behavior in e-books, music and video, and possibly the app development rules that excluded Adobe.