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AdMob: new iPhone ad rules hurt competition

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple's Best interests?

    Of course.

    This is what corporations do. When I see all the whining by developers and software companies on sites like this and how these clowns DEMAND that Apple or Google do things THEIR way I get the feeling most of them have never really been in business before.

    Have they tried looking at it from 180 degrees, if they were the platform and someone else was the developer? With over 200,000 apps available, Apple has signaled people like this system.

    Some of these idiots believe someone else owes them a living. These must be the same people who believed or would believe in job security for life.

  1. ludachrs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Let's be clear, limited our spy wear "Admob Analytics" makes us less competitive and we need this spy wear so we can compete on our unfairly with Apple. So I am declaring limiting our spy wear as illegal. Apple needs to "share" this data with us.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Apple's Best interests?

    Ah, but Apple better be careful. You can't just keep arguing "Well, no one forces you to buy an iPhone" or "their marketshare is miniscule". If Apple basically locks out all third-party advertisers from their system, they all of a sudden become a monopoly in that space, and then the lawsuits will start flying.

    Some of these idiots believe someone else owes them a living. These must be the same people who believed or would believe in job security for life.

    No, what these idiots believe is that they should get to play on the same playing field as everyone else on the field. However, Apple has tilted the field, not just towards itself (which, BTW, the specifically excluded from their license restrictions), but also to other advertisers. Basically, Apple is trying to block competition in the Ad space based on whether or not they happen to be competitors in other areas.

    But if someone else tried to block apple from getting into a space, oh, the holy h*** that would rain down on them...

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wait until you use Reader

    Good by Google ads in mainstream PCs and Macs. Here is the real shot.

  1. robttwo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If AdMob is against it

    then it must be good. No one screws people like they do. Of course, Apple is known to be unfriendly to developers - ha. Give me a break.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm really confused about the situation of

    outside parties complaining about what another company does within their own platform. Supposedly, in a few more years, Android is going to have the largest mobile market share. Why is AdMob concerned if Apple is damaging its own platform? If Apple is harming its own developers and users so badly, wouldn't that just drive both to the Android platform which would be a good thing for AdMob and Google. Everybody says the closed Apple mobile platform is a failing strategy so why should outsiders concern themselves about what Apple is doing if it's only helping to destroy itself.

    Apple's mobile platform doesn't come close to Nokia or RIMs market percentage so what are these companies so frightened about. AdMob can get statistics from Android, Nokia, RIM and Windows Mobile platforms. Surely, that should be more than enough info for them. Why do they need iOS statistics?

    I was wondering about when Nokia had such a large cellphone market share, were other companies complaining about Nokia flooding the market with really cheap cellphones which could be considered an anti-competitive tactic. I just thought the whole idea of a business was to give your own side an advantage. When did all this fair play start entering into business practices? I may be wrong or I'm missing the big picture or something, but giving rival businesses your own internal statistics just doesn't make any sense.

  1. wg45678

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm with Apple on this one

    I want my privacy protected. Period. I don't want tracking cookies, location sampling, or anything else on my phone. I don't care about 'not a level playing field.' I block browser cookies, erase flash cookies (how many people know about them??), block any connection from my desktop destined to any site containing the word 'ad.' I really don't want to have to do the same on my personal devices, and I especially don't want some advertiser, bill collector, private detective, or other entity sampling my location without my permission (by GPS, cell tower location, or proximity to wireless access point) to decide what to feed me or to find me. The Big Brother threat we have to worry about these days is less from the US Government and more from advertisers and other surreptitious eavesdroppers on our activities.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Wg4567 has it exactly right - Apple is taking a stand to pro-actively lay down a barrier to privacy violations by advertisers, to protect it's own customers. It is not doing this just out of the goodness of their hearts, but to create a viable and desirable environment for customers, which will halo out to contribute to an Apple ecosystem which will also attract new customers (as it already does on the Mac, for example, with PC users fed up by virus').

    By creating a stable and reliable platform (ie another reason why Flash is out), they are creating a product space that attracts customers who just want stuff to work, instead of fighting third party plugins, virus software, annoying ads, and leaking privacy information (as all the guys complaining so far have shown to have issues with)

    This isn't rocket science.

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Back Again

    Has not anyone noticed the power of "Reader" in the new Safari to absolutely stop all ad display?. This one really puts a stop to the Admob and Google ads on the desktop internet. A hacker will soon write the code to turn it on all the time. Once the other browsers get this reading without interruption ability the Google monopoly with intrusion will topple. Talk about a rapier stroke at a competitor.

  1. ethical_paul

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Google and competition

    If Google was really pro-competition, then why did they buy AdMob? Surely the "consumer" is better served by additional players in the mobile device ad space, ha ha ha

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