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US officials already checking Apple's exclusion of AdMob

updated 09:15 am EDT, Thu June 10, 2010

FTC, DOJ may find iOS anti-AdMob terms illegal

US government officials are already investigating Apple's decision to block AdMob from iOS 4, tips asserted late Wednesday. Two contacts said that the federal level has an "interest" in whether the terms are anti-competitive. As it was still early, the FT sources didn't know if the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission would conduct a proper investigation.

Apple's new SDK terms are ostensibly to protect privacy and prevent competing mobile platforms from snooping pre-release data, but many have already noted that the terms are clearly designed to exclude Google's recent acquisition AdMob from the iOS platform. AdMob has already complained that the rules would limit competition by only allowing mobile-only advertisers, giving Apple's iAd a significant advantage over the smaller companies that would remain, like Greystripe and Medialets.

Apple may not have a significant defense against any forced changes. Its reactionary launch of iAd was instrumental to the FTC approving Google's buyout of AdMob as it created major competition to AdMob on the iPhone. By attempting to exclude AdMob or any advertiser for whom mobile ads aren't the largest component, Apple would promptly invert the situation by cutting out Google from some of its existing share and giving iAd an artificial edge.

None of the details have been confirmed by the government or by Apple, but they follow a pattern that has seen official or very likely investigations of the company in e-book pricing, video, music and possibly Apple's rules banning cross-compiling development tools. The company has increasingly been accused of strong-arming media labels and of making it intentionally difficult to serve other platforms.






by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. kerryb

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    don't get it

    Google got off the hook because Apple was entering the ad biz, now Apple is on the hook for entering the ad biz?

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    I still don't understand why a company with a mino

    market share is being investigated over a product that hasn't even launched. AdMob claims that users and developers are being cheated. Wouldn't users and developers be the ones to make that call. Apple only has control over its own platform and AdMob would be able to be on all the remaining platforms which would be the majority. It seems exactly like Adobe's complaint of Apple not using Flash that it hurts users and developers. It appears that Apple wants as much control on its own mobile platform that some carriers had years ago. That's how it still is with carriers in Japan. They control everything that a feature phone offers.

    I honestly don't think the DOJ will find anything illegal about what Apple is doing being that it isn't even close to being a monopoly.

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +6

    Move on to Oil Spill Please

    Just government bureaucrats making a name for themselves. They should have other things to do.

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    I think

    This is a direct message from Jobs to that low life POS rat called Eric Schmidt! May he rot in h***!

  1. Norrin Radd

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Really?

    Is this what our government really needs to be focusing on? We don't have bigger issues than to pick on the one company in this country doing things right? I don't recall this level of investigation into Haliburton getting all those rebuild contracts in Iraq. And that was blatantly less competitive by every measure.

    It seems like the U.S. government has completely forgotten it's mission. starwarrior is dead on. There's plenty of other things they could be doing to actually, you know, help "the people" instead of just their friends.

  1. tfmeehan

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +10

    Interesting...

    First off, the way I understand it is that AdMob is NOT being blocked from the iPhone. It's just that they won't have access to user and device information. The ads will still work.

    What's really interesting is that in the 90's the feds had to be dragged kicking and screaming to investigate Microsoft's anti-competitive practices, and then only because some of the states joined the PC makers to create a group they couldn't ignore. Even THEN, they barely slapped MS on the wrist.

    Now every time a competitor winces, they consider launching a new inquiry.


  1. YangZone

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    comment title

    So we are having a battle of how many companies get to bs us. Amazingly there is a fairness issue in how we are bs-ed.
    Oh, sorry,'forgot, advertising is a good thing.

  1. charlituna

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    interesting

    That the only source for this is a UK based paper that allegedly has sources within the US government and US agencies to know what they are doing about a US company

    And yet no actual US media has used their sources to back up this 'news'

    To me is smells as fishy as the other 10 claims of cases that have been only reported by the New York Post which is only a quarter step above a tabloid.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: Really?

    Is this what our government really needs to be focusing on? We don't have bigger issues than to pick on the one company in this country doing things right?

    Doing things right? Can you define that? How do you know they're doing things right, just because they make money? h***, Enron made tons of money, and I'm sure everyone complained the second someone wanted to investigate them, too.

    I don't recall this level of investigation into Haliburton getting all those rebuild contracts in Iraq. And that was blatantly less competitive by every measure.

    Excuse me, but to paraphrase the grand Pole's Copernicus' work. Apple is NOT the center of the universe, and all things do not revolve around Apple. Let's see where you're going overboard. "this level of investigation". What LEVEL is that? That a couple of lawyers at the DOJ or FTC is checking into a complaint about unfair practices? Versus all the manpower and time spent investigating all the wrongdoings of Haliburton? Seriously? Do you even know how much time or money has been spent on Halliburton, or are you just assuming it was washed under the bus since it was never reported on MacNN?

    It seems like the U.S. government has completely forgotten it's mission. starwarrior is dead on. There's plenty of other things they could be doing to actually, you know, help "the people" instead of just their friends.

    You seem to miss the point. AdMob is raising concerns because if Apple forces more restrictions on them than Apple has, then those who want to advertise will have less choice and, in effect, be compelled to use Apple's service. At that point, you're now facing paying whatever price Apple demands from you, for you know there are no real competitors to be able to target your advertising.

    So the people who are hurt is the small companies and developers who face a monopolistic-type market with little to no choice. And, I think, those are the people the gov't is supposed to be fighting for, right?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    @iphonerulez

    I still don't understand why a company with a mino

    market share is being investigated over a product that hasn't even launched.


    Apple's market share of the tablet and smart-phone market is not small. And, I'm sure you would be the first to agree, is bound to grow substantially more in the near term.

    And the product has launched. For the complaint is on the iPhone 4.0 sdk.

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