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Apple iAd Drawing Antitrust Scrutiny 260

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-not-pass-go dept.
snydeq writes "US regulators are planning to investigate whether Apple is shutting out third parties such as Google and Microsoft in advertising on the iPhone and iPad under revised terms to its iAd mobile ad platform. Apple's revised developer terms prohibit ad analytics collection unless it is provided to an independent ad service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads. If enforced, the proposed terms would prohibit developers from using Google's AdMob service on the iPhone, according to AdMob founder Omar Hamoui. Developers using AdMob to deliver ads on cross-platform mobile apps would have to go through an alternative service for the version of the app running on an Apple platform, according to the terms. It's an impractical solution that some are calling restrictive."
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Apple iAd Drawing Antitrust Scrutiny

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  • Good. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:10AM (#32534956) Homepage

    Maybe they'll get scared and let go the market a little.

    Worked on MS.

    Maury

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bdenton42 (1313735)

      If by "Worked on MS" you mean file a lawsuit, go to trial, present mounds of evidence, win a judgement, have the Judge threaten to break the company into two, yeah, ok, THEN they'll get scared.

      By that time Apple will have destroyed the smartphone market and probably Google as well. It took ten years from inquiry to settlement in US v Microsoft, an eternity in computer time, and ten years later IE still owns the majority of the browser market.

      • If by "Worked on MS" you mean file a lawsuit, go to trial, present mounds of evidence, win a judgement, have the Judge threaten to break the company into two, yeah, ok, THEN they'll get scared.

        No, by "worked on MS" I mean get sued, get scared, stop acting like a monopolist.

        Say what you will about MS (it's Dooooomed!), most of their recent work has been much more open than in the past. It's no longer about embrace and extend. The actual outcome of this change on the wider world may be limited, but that's a statement about MS's ability to generate working products, not the way they go about planning them.

        Maury

        • Embrace, extend, extinguish as a business model runs rampant at Microsoft. It's just that the broader world community is aware of it and puts a halt to it whenever discovered. Microsoft's main thrust of embrace, extend, extinguish is targeted to the web, document formats, and open source.

      • I don't think Apple is capable of hurting Google in any significant way.

  • by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:11AM (#32534962) Homepage Journal

    For fuck sake, they're ARGUING OVER THE RIGHTS TO PUT FUCKING ADS ON OUR PERSONAL DEVICES.

    Are we supposed to feel sorry for them? Fuck them and their ads. Do not want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Pojut (1027544)

      Riding on the Metro (the subway system around the DC/Metro area) a few weekends ago, we noticed something strange outside the windows of the train while going through an underground tunnel: evenly-spaced signs made out of LEDs that, when travel past at speed, created a "flipbook" type of advertisement....for fucking Starbucks.

      Yes. It really has come to this.

      • Hah, I'd actually like to see that, where on the Metro was it?

        (Currently ride the Blue Line in to DC)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Pojut (1027544)

          It was on the Red Line, between Farragut North and Metro Center (were going into DC when we saw it)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kumanopuusan (698669)
        This (or something operating on the same principle) has been around for more than 6 years on the Ginza line in Tokyo. The Japanese term for it roughly translates to large tunnel interior advertising. According to this article [tokyometro.jp], the first installation was in Atlanta in 2001. There's also a picture of the advertisement itself.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by andi75 (84413)

          We have a couple in this country, but the train drivers hate them, because it forces them to go at a certain fixed speed (so the ads look 'right'), screwing up the whole accelleration / decceleration process.

      • by MaWeiTao (908546)

        That's been in use overseas for maybe a decade. Man, in some ways the US is really behind the times.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Then don't download the software. I write apps for a living; either I charge you money up front or I put ads in the application, and I give you the option of which you want. If you find having both of those options unfair, then just pretend I don't offer a free version.

      Actually that's only the case for the general audience. For you, I'd prefer it if you didn't use my apps at all -- you're probably a customer service nightmare, too, and not worth the bother. Of course, you also probably don't actually own an

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dayznfuz (1606545)
        As long as developers stick with the "I only put ads in the free version" mentality, that's fine. But, let's be honest, if a developer can get away with it, they'll put it in paid apps as well -- "well, it'd be MORE expensive if I didn't have the ad in there". There is precedent, you know. Several games over the years have put ads into the games (ie "billboards" on car racing games). It's subtle, but there. Then there's cable TV. They used to have fewer commercials then regular TV. Not anymore. Movi
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by TyFoN (12980)

          iAd makes ads easy, prettier, "less" intrusive. All justifications for a developer to stick them in, even if it's a paid app.

          Hmm, I was under the impression that you would "enjoy" full screen adds with this software, and the ability to be taken directly to the product web page inside the application. Definitively not "less intrusive" in my book.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Bing Tsher E (943915)

        Then don't download the software. I write apps for a living; either I charge you money up front or I put ads in the application, and I give you the option of which you want.

        I'll download the software, then I'll give it a one star rating, then I'll delete it. And I won't be alone.

        Enjoy your ad revenue. Maybe you can buy a coffee with it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dzfoo (772245)

        There's a problem with that rationale: When I go to the App Store, free apps typically say "Ad Supported" or something like that. At that point I make the decision to download it and use it. Fine, your point is well taken.

        However, what the description didn't tell me was, "We'll-scrape-all-the-info-we-can-get-to-off-your-device-while-displaying-Ads Supported".

        Why is that? Is it because there is a tacit understanding among developers that the user may decline such wholesale disregard to his privacy? Then

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by frinkacheese (790787)

      Quite. I was walking past Pizza Hut the other day and they were trying to send their bluetooth shite to my phone. Not being happy with their crap spamming my phone and noticing the little bluetooth ad box plugged in by the window, I popped in and turned it off.

      NO I DONT WANT A BLOODY PIZZA HUT SPECIAL OFFER.

      • Holy shit, really?

        That's a bit too far in my opinion. What did it do? Send a pairing request from a device named "BuyPizza"? Or did it go further than that?

    • by jpmorgan (517966) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:41AM (#32535368) Homepage

      There are lots of apps in Android that come in both paid and ad-ware versions. It offers choice to users and to developers. Of course, on Android, as a developer, you can use any advertising network you want; Apple could certainly port iAd to Android, if they wished. Choice is a Good Thing(TM).

      Compare that to the iPhone. If it's just content you're interested in, you could always just do a website. Except with the latest version of Safari, Apple are trying to kill off web advertising too. So if you want reliable income from iPhone users, you've got to do a content-delivery app. Users then have to buy your app through the AppStore (and Apple get their cut). If it's free and ad-supported, all of the major competitors are locked out so you're stuck with iAds... and Apple gets their cut. And if you get pissed off and want to abandon the iPhone and switch to Android? Well, have fun rewriting your app from scratch: Apple banned you from using any compatibility platforms which would make it portable.

      Yes, in this particular incident we're talking about ads, and I hate annoying ads as much as the next person, but leaving it at that is short-sighted and naive. This isn't about eliminating ads and improving user-experience, no matter what Steve Jobs tells his adoring masses. This is competition Mafia-style. You can say 'this is all fine, it's Apple's platform and they can do what they like with it.' But it's also what's called 'rent-seeking' behavior and I don't know of any economist who doesn't consider it abusive and anti-competitive. Hence all the recent DOJ investigations.

      • by medcalf (68293)
        You need to look up the term "rent seeking". In fact, you probably need to start with rents and fee simple and such before you progress to more advanced topics like gaming the system of ownership. It may or may not be a good thing (and it's probably, on balance, neutral), but it's not rent seeking.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by forand (530402)
        Ad serving networks have been plagued by serving up malware to unsuspecting users for some time. When such a thing happens on a well respected site, for instance the a major news site, many here, rightfully, get angry at the site for not policing the advertising being served to their users. If Apple is willing to ensure that no such malware will be served to my device and that the ads will comply with certain standards then I am all for it. If, however, Apple does no oversight and lets any crap onto my devi
    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:57AM (#32535638) Journal

      For fuck sake, they're ARGUING OVER THE RIGHTS TO PUT FUCKING ADS ON OUR PERSONAL DEVICES.

      I think thats where you are making the mistake. The iPad is not your personal device. Its Apple's, and they have shown that with their previous practices.

    • by farble1670 (803356) on Friday June 11, 2010 @11:14AM (#32535890)

      not really.

      apple nor google put ads on iphone or android devices. the ads go in the apps that developers write. i don't like ads any more than the next guy, but developers should have the freedom to use them to try and obtain compensation for their time, if they so wish. if *you* don't like it, don't use the app.

    • They aren't arguing over that. They are arguing over restraint of trade. It may seem that because ads are front and center, but it is the idea of restraining your competition that has brought the heat.

    • For fuck sake, they're ARGUING OVER THE RIGHTS TO PUT FUCKING ADS ON OUR PERSONAL DEVICES.

      Are we supposed to feel sorry for them? Fuck them and their ads. Do not want.

      Um no. They are arguing over the rights to let other developers use only their service to serve ads to you and get a fair share of the ad revenue for themselves.

      Wow, that confused even me. The point is, Apple doesn't put ads on your device (I think, ... correct me if I'm wrong). They just want to capitalize on what app developers are already doing, which is putting ads (currently most likely Google Ads) in their own applications. Understandable, but still annoying, I agree.

    • by MaWeiTao (908546)

      I don't like ads myself and I use adblock on my browsers. That said, piss and moan all you want, but companies need to pay for the products, services and content they provide. Either you deal with ads or things get more expensive and you'll be looking at more subscriptions. I realize in fantasy land everything is free and people are willing to work for nothing. But that's not how the real world works.

      I realize there are situations where companies may be trying to squeeze a few extra bucks out of us and this

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ash Vince (602485)

      For fuck sake, they're ARGUING OVER THE RIGHTS TO PUT FUCKING ADS ON OUR PERSONAL DEVICES.

      Are we supposed to feel sorry for them? Fuck them and their ads. Do not want.

      Remember that this is actually about developers being able to embed adverts in applications or websites. This helps the developers of said applications get paid for the hard work they put in without charging the user directly.

      These companies do not force their adverts into unsuspecting websites, applications or devices. They are able to do it because it provides another revenue stream for the people producing whatever it is that enables them to keep there costs down. Why the hell should people be forced int

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't like adds, but if it means I can download a few neat puzzle games for free, then that's fine by me. And if I know the add isn't going to take me out of the application or do anything weird, then I might even click on one occasionally.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mattack2 (1165421)

      Then don't buy(*) the apps that have ads in them. Problem solved.

      (*) I'm calling it 'buying' even if it's a free app.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      Where are my mod points when i need them.. i agree 100%

  • by yogibeaty (224757) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:11AM (#32534966) Homepage

    I can't wait to be able to put Ford stickers on the back of Toyota trucks, and use your Droid to advertise At&T!

  • iHa!

  • by Pojut (1027544)

    People fighting over advertising. Given yesterday's conversation on here, I'm sure some of you are aware of how this amuses me.

  • by Mark19960 (539856) <Mark AT freequest DOT net> on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:15AM (#32535040) Homepage Journal

    If Microsoft did this people would be all over their asses.
    Apple telling these developers you can only use our ad service is just blatant abuse at this point.

    I think Apple knows that the writing is on the wall and they are going to lose something so why not cash in as much as possible?
    This is the now third 'potential' investigation into their business practices of various issues and markets.

    • by InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:25AM (#32535168)
      It's tricky. Once a product/service reaches a point where it's widely used and relied upon by users it potentially becomes a marketplace. The question is should it be considered a part of the rest of the "market" and be regulated as a free market like the rest of our market? How do you define what qualifies to be considered a market that should be free and open? By number of users? Value of potential revenue? Or should it all be free and open? I can't run an Ad network on PS3, Wii, etc. So why is the iPhone singled out?
      • by TheCrayfish (73892) on Friday June 11, 2010 @11:02AM (#32535728) Homepage

        Great questions. I'm having a hard time deciding how to form an opinion on this issue because I can't seem to come up with the right analogy to map this over to other real-world scenarios with similar questions.

        I mean, if you consider Apple a "publisher", in this case a publisher of applications, why can they not control how ads get delivered? If they published books, for example, could they not make publication of an author's book contingent on the author NOT selling advertising space inside it? The author, after all, can self-publish his work and include any content he wants, whether advertisements or something else, so he still has choices. He can also seek out other publishers who might have publication rules that allow him to sell ads within his book.

        The creator of an application has many other platforms and devices on which he can publish his application, if he feels that Apple's advertising rules are too restrictive. So he, too, has choices.

        If we look at Apple as a merchant rather than a publisher (in this case, a merchant running an App Store,) can we not make comparisons to merchants in brick and mortar stores? Wouldn't a clothing store owner be within her rights to decree that any shirt sold in her store must not advertise competitor's stores? The creator of the shirt can still go to other outlets to sell his shirt, and doesn't the proprietor of a store have a right to control the merchandise sold through that store?

        In every analogous situation I can think of, I come down on the side of Apple -- having the right to decree what can and cannot be published/sold through their storefront.

        • The problem is that the Apple storefront is the only store for the iPhone and iPad. Thus your analogies break down. If there was any legal way of installing 3rd party apps, then iDevice users would have a choice like in your examples.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by S.O.B. (136083)

          If we look at Apple as a merchant rather than a publisher (in this case, a merchant running an App Store,) can we not make comparisons to merchants in brick and mortar stores? Wouldn't a clothing store owner be within her rights to decree that any shirt sold in her store must not advertise competitor's stores? The creator of the shirt can still go to other outlets to sell his shirt, and doesn't the proprietor of a store have a right to control the merchandise sold through that store?

          Personally I don't thi

        • by flux4 (157463) on Friday June 11, 2010 @02:25PM (#32539158) Homepage

          You can't seem to come up with the right analogy? This is slashdot, my friend. Let me put this in terms we all understand.

          So you're driving in your car (of course). You're noticing all these annoying billboards, the bane of Appland. But these aren't just passive billboards: these ones are modern, intelligent ads that automatically spy on you! They know where you're going, where you've been, what your license plate is, that sort of thing. They can guess based on your ride if they should be offering you insta-loans or grey poupon! These are just some of the neat features of electronic billboards.

          Now it just so happens that Apple built your car... yes, you're driving an iCar 4, the kind that Gawker twerps are always trying to jack. Looking good, dog! But Apple has laid down the law: "When it comes to these annoying billboards, only independent advertising companies can spy on you. Oh, and us. But that's a given, I mean, come on." When you do the math, you see that they've excluded the other major car manufacturer from spying on your sovereign self!

          Obviously this very annoying, because THAT manufacturer (named Googledroid) is known the world over for the high quality of thier spying techniques. They are so cool, they know how to capture thousands of wireless networks WITHOUT EVEN TRYING! They can create buzz for a product before the participants even know they're participating! And Apple is trying to rain on their parade, trying to evilly block them from doing what they do best.

          Not from putting up billboards... anyone can do that. It's a free highway. No, Apple is telling the world's best spysters that they can't spy on your iCar. They can spy on all the other cars... and everyone else can spy on you... but by God, in this particular instance there will be no spying.

          And I ask you, in all honesty, is that fair? Can you stand for it? Considering all the issues that the world faces today, can you think of something more vital?

          I certainly cannot. And until Apple guarantees the right of every billboard to spy on me 100%, I don't know how I can ever sit behind the wheel of an iCar again.

      • Well if you compare phones - there's nothing stopping you from using any ad provider you want on Symbian/Blackberry or Android. Yes Apple could port their framework to any of those platforms and compete there.

        I really have no idea about gaming consoles. I agree that they are pretty anti-competitive as well... I doubt Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo has rules about in game ads though - I see them all the time - I don't think they are served up via any framework though.

    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:30AM (#32535242) Homepage

      Apple isn't saying you can only use their ad service. You can use ANY ad service. They're just saying that ad services belonging to direct competitors in the OS/Hardware game can't collect some device demographics information. AdMob would have been able to, under this rule, if Google hadn't bought them.

      This is actually an improvement over what they announced earlier this year. When they unveiled iOS4, they said no one could collect that data. They've loosened that.

      AdMob says not getting that data will hurt their ability to place relevant ads. I'm not sure of that, but it could be true. It doesn't really matter to me, I don't care.

      Most of the stuff I get off the app store is either free and adless (because the developer was just making something fun), or paid for (like most games I play) and thus has no ads. I don't like ads.

      There is only one app I use with these kinds of ads in it, and I hate the app. I haven't found a replacement for it yet.

      Should Apple get in trouble for this? I can see it. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this is called anti-competitive.

      Do I care? Not really. I avoid apps with ads, so this doesn't really effect me.

      • This is actually an improvement over what they announced earlier this year. When they unveiled iOS4, they said no one could collect that data. They've loosened that.

        An improvement in shit over bullshit is still shit.

      • Apple isn't saying you can only use their ad service. You can use ANY ad service. They're just saying that ad services belonging to direct competitors in the OS/Hardware game can't collect some device demographics information.

        analytics are *everything* to an ad service. the service is essentially useless without it.

    • I don't fully get exactly whats going on.

      So I went and looked up Anti-competitive practices on Wikipedia. I guess the two things that may apply are

      "Barriers to entry" (to an industry) designed to avoid the competition that new entrants would bring.
      and
      "Coercive monopoly" - all potential competition is barred from entering the market

      Now those are always a little fuzzy to define, but if this iAd thing falls into those categories, wouldn't also their App Store? I don't understand that if the current allegations

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by digitalchinky (650880)

        Nothing much is going on other than one company carefully building a wall around their playground.

        The market is significantly bigger than Apple though, so neither of those anti-competitive terms apply. Depending on which side of the fence you stand, you could easily argue that there are far more capable handsets on store shelves - some significantly more open than others. Quite a few Linux based handsets out there with little or nothing standing in the way of root access.

        The only way the iAd thing could fal

        • The market is significantly bigger than Apple though, so neither of those anti-competitive terms apply.

          Not true. US Anti-Trust laws don't require a monopoly to be enforced. All they require is anti-competitive behavior (And enough market share to raise their attention/cause potential damage)... That's why it's called anti-competitive behavior, not monopolistic behavior...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bennomatic (691188)

          The only way the iAd thing could fall in to any of those categories is if there were no alternatives on the market. There are dozens of manufacturers, thousands of phone models to choose from - competition is fierce and healthy in this domain.

          If it were anyone but Google complaining, I'd actually have a little more sympathy, as the iPhone is the one that's giving ads the greatest amount of face time. But they just spent their entire dev conference talking about how much better android is than the iPhone, trashing it in every dick way they could. So now Apple's being a dick back to them, basically saying, put your money where your mouth is. If your system is so great, then clearly you don't need to put your ads in front of our customers outsid

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drerwk (695572)

      Apple telling these developers you can only use our ad service is just blatant abuse at this point.

      It is somewhat more subtle. One interpretation is that Apple is protecting user privacy. Reading the text of the TOS : http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20100412/is-apple-closing-off-the-iphone-to-rival-ad-networks/ [allthingsd.com] it seems pretty reasonable from an app user POV.
      I also think this is an informative take: http://davidbarnard.com/post/684540619/anti-competitive-and-potentially-creepy [davidbarnard.com]

    • by Akido37 (1473009)

      If Microsoft did this people would be all over their asses..

      People on Slashdot say that a lot - but the truth is, Amazon already does this, and nobody really noticed.

      http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/22/what-danger-do-blippy-and-swipely-pose-to-amazon/ [nytimes.com]

    • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:51AM (#32535518)

      Apple telling these developers you can only use our ad service is just blatant abuse at this point.

      Are you a shill? Seriously, Apple IS NOT telling developers use our service or else.

      Apple IS trying to control the flow of their customers personal data. They are preventing analytics... as a user I appreciate this. Apparently you don't give a rats ass about your browsing, data using, phone call history, geo location and whatever the f*ck else these guys (Google) are collecting.

      Here's the rules

      3.3.9 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 necessary in order to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application. For example, without Apple’s prior written consent, You may not use third party analytics software in Your Application to collect and send device data to a third party for aggregation, processing, or analysis.

      - 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.

      Sounds to me like Apple is taking back control of how developers and third parties access and use sensitive user data on their iOS platform, that's it. Looks like you can still use an INDEPENDENT advertising company.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @11:26AM (#32536066)

        Except everyone but Google (and Bing presumably) are allowed access to all the precious user data they are supposedly protecting. They've aimed these new clauses at Ad services affiliated with their direct competitors.

        It's not about user privacy protection, it's about shutting Google and Microsoft out of their market. They're defending their iAd service from competition from AdMob because it's owned by Google by shutting AdMob out of their devices. The very essence of Anti-Competitive behaviour. Whether that anti-competitive behaviour is sufficiently egregious for sanctions depends on the outcome of the DOJ and FTC investigations.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dzfoo (772245)

          >> Except everyone but Google (and Bing presumably) are allowed access to all the precious user data they are supposedly protecting.

          Only after getting the user's consent. How is this not an improvement from what we have right now, where they snatch the data willy-nilly without the user's knowledge?

                  -dZ.

      • 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

        That's the money quote right there. They are trying to hurt their competitors. Why single out developers or distributors of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments? How does that help the user at all?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by whisper_jeff (680366)

      This is the now third 'potential' investigation into their business practices of various issues and markets.

      It's the third potential investigation because some of Apple's competitors (well, one key one in particular but others have jumped on the band wagon) have decided that a good business model is to run to the government and complain every time Apple twitches (yes, the image of a child running to mommy and daddy was intentional) rather than just shutting the hell up and focusing on making great products. And it's ironic because that company has made some really good products over the years but, now that they'

      • by Lulfas (1140109)
        Sounds like exactly what happened to Microsoft in Europe with Opera running crying.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ircmaxell (1117387)

      I think Apple knows that the writing is on the wall and they are going to lose something so why not cash in as much as possible?

      Perhaps Apple sees the inquiry coming and knows they'll have to give up something to appease the DOJ and FTC. So they are purposely coming out with over the top rules.

      It's a win-win for them. If they govt doesn't like it, they can take away the fluff, and Apple still will have what they wanted all along. If the govt decides it's ok, they have their cake and can eat it as we

    • by dogzilla (83896)

      Well, it's Apple and people are "all over their asses".

      And just to clarify a point - after having read the terms, Apple doesn't appear to be telling people they cannot use any other ad service, just not ad services that send demographic and usage data back *to companies who also own a product that competes with the iPhone*.

      I would suspect Apple's response to an unfavorable ruling will simply be to ban ads and/or analytics in iOS apps. But it seems unlikely that Apple will get an unfavorable ruling on this -

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      I would give thumbs up if they were protecting their users by just forbidding any kind of analytics ads. And through technical means instead of legal ones.
  • How is this different than say, Apple wanting to us it's own analytic engine on Google?

    • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:21AM (#32535134)

      They can on Android...

  • Google will not allow me to put my own ad engine to work on their site. Since when does an anti-trust investigation start when a service or product is not even on the market? This is at best premature. iphones do not rule the internet, and if Apple wants to experiment with different service offerings, then let 'em.
    • by Jeng (926980)

      Bad analogy.

      Lets say you are using a Microsoft operating system, why should Microsoft allow Google to put their own ad engine on your computer even if you want it and are willing to install it yourself?

      It's because it is your computer not Microsoft's computer.

      It's your Iphone not Apples.

      • by medcalf (68293)
        Then write your own program with whatever ad engine you want. But you won't get it on the App Store, because it's Apple's app store, not yours.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cabjf (710106)
        It may be your iPhone, but it is still Apple's AppStore and services you use. Anyone is free to create web apps instead of native apps and web ads instead of native ads still. It's a bit like a local radio station or listener demanding their station to be available on satellite radio because it is the radio owner's stereo, not the satellite radio company's.
        • It may be your iPhone, but it is still Apple's AppStore and services you use It's a bit like a local radio station or listener demanding their station to be available on satellite radio because it is the radio owner's stereo, not the satellite radio company's.

          Eh, not in this case. You forgot the all important developer of the App,thus your analogy fails. The developer is left with less freedom to choose ad services and that would affect their bottomline. Hence they would make Apps paid(hurting the iDevice customer) or not develop the App(customer gets less choice again). This is directly hurting the customer who would rather see Ads than pay for the App. Apple is specifically targeting Google by banning companies that have a mobile operating system from showing

    • The sole purpose of Google's search site is to serve as a portal to their ad engine. For the obligatory car analogy: That's like complaining about not being able to order a Chevy pickup from the factory with a Honda engine. Whereas what Apple is trying to do would be like Chevy saying only their approved manufacturers get to make after market parts, which just happens exclude their biggest competitor.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rumith (983060)
      -1, Wrong.
      Google does [google.com] accept quite a lot [google.com] of third-party ad providers on their network, and any website owner can choose if to opt in those alternative providers or not. Google search engine's webmaster, apparently, chose not to opt it. Would you deny him that right? Once again: you can serve third-party ads via AdSense on your site, if you want to. I do not, so I don't opt in - the possibility is nevertheless there. That is not the case with Apple.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:27AM (#32535186)

    Apple's terms do not exclude 3rd party ad networks, including AdMob:

    3.3.9 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 necessary in order to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application. For example, without Apple’s prior written consent, You may not use third party analytics software in Your Application to collect and send device data to a third party for aggregation, processing, or analysis.

    - 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.

    This specifically covers advertising analytics, and prevents disclosure of advertising analytics to 3rd parties by independent ad providers; and if you're an ad provider owned by a mobile phone manufacturer or mobile OS provider, you are not considered independent.

    Google's perfectly free to provide ads on iOS. They just can't collect extensive information about how the users interact with the advertisements.

    Now that does dramatically reduce the value of the advertisements, since advertisers want that kind of information, but it's not a ban.

    And then there's the competitive aspect. Why should Apple allow Google to use their platform to collect information that will allow them to improve the integration of advertising into a competing platform, Android? Sure, this move may be in part aimed at getting back at Google for the AdMob purchase, but there's a good case to me made that the primary motivation is to provide as little research and development assistance as possible to a competing platform (note that the limitation on analytics is for any phone or mobile OS manufacturer).

    Finally, I'm personally fine with limiting the ability of ad providers to provide user analytics to 3rd parties. I'm not electing to do business with those 3rd parties, so I'd prefer that they not profit off me.

    • Finally, I'm personally fine with limiting the ability of ad providers to provide user analytics to 3rd parties. I'm not electing to do business with those 3rd parties, so I'd prefer that they not profit off me.

      Then don't download the ad-supported app and you won't have any problems.

      • Except through my history of owning an iphone a number of apps have gone from the purchase model to ad supported model via updates that listed no such thing in the documentation of what the update does. I've deleted or not updated every one that has done so, but still...

        It's a problem with the iphone and probably other platforms that is not talked about much. Being very weary about updating. I have way too many apps that I will not update for various reasons. Generally a bad habit to get people used to...

    • And then there's the competitive aspect. Why should Apple allow Google to use their platform to collect information that will allow them to improve the integration of advertising into a competing platform, Android? Sure, this move may be in part aimed at getting back at Google for the AdMob purchase, but there's a good case to me made that the primary motivation is to provide as little research and development assistance as possible to a competing platform (note that the limitation on analytics is for any phone or mobile OS manufacturer).

      Wow. That sure sounds like an example of 'An eye for an eye and soon the world will turn blind'. 'Helping' is different from actively blocking.

      Why should Google help Apple by developing Youtube for iPhone? Why should Google help Apple by making a very nice Google Maps for iPhone at launch(can't imagine they make a lot of money off that)?

      How will Google retaliate? Ban HD video streaming from Youtube to iDevices? Apple is acting like the bad kid on the block and soon the other kids may take their toys and go

    • Now that does dramatically reduce the value of the advertisements, since advertisers want that kind of information, but it's not a ban.

      yes it is. analytics are everything. it's like an advertiser wanting to place a cable TV ad, and asking how many viewers they can expect, and the cable TV company saying "we have no ideas". the advertiser walks out because one they have no idea how to negotiate a price and two they have no idea how effective the ad can be.

  • Antitrust (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gorzek (647352) <gorzek@gmail.3.1415926com minus pi> on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:30AM (#32535234) Homepage Journal

    At what point do Apple's actions run afoul of antitrust laws? They are certainly allowed to lock down their platform to some degree, but they aren't allowed to do just anything they want.

    Would it be legal for Sony TVs to automatically go dark whenever they detect a Samsung commercial playing?

  • Ok but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Endo13 (1000782) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:59AM (#32535680)

    how is it even possible for Apple to be anticompetitive in this case?

    I thought under US law, being anticompetitive means either forming a collusion with most of the other major players in the same market or leveraging a [near] monopoly to lock in another market.

  • by Egdiroh (1086111) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:08PM (#32537722)
    !. The terms of service DO NOT block AdMob. It blocks AdMob from having apps on the client gather analytics for it.

    2. The type of AdMob gathers aren't required for advertising. If they were, AdMob's parent google would be out of business, or trying to get us to install spyware all the time.

    3. AdMob could even still use a 3rd party analytics form to gather Analytics for it. Apple doesn't want it's phone competitors to be able to use their advertising businesses to harvest information about Apple's devices (especially those under development), without at least Apple having a chance at that same information.

    4. AdMob could even change their client/server model so that without having the device send the information, the server could collect all the extra information that it's reasonable for them to get anyway.

    5. With out App Eula's that give them permission some of the Analytics gathering that is sacred may even be illegal in jurisdiction that have anti-monitoring laws.

    Apple's move was not a move to give iAd an advantage. It was a move to try to keep analytics from being spyware.

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