Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Advertising Google Government Handhelds Iphone Microsoft United States Apple Your Rights Online

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple iAd Drawing Antitrust Scrutiny

Comments Filter:
  • 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.

  • by yogibeaty (224757) on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:11AM (#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!

  • by Mark19960 (539856) <Mark@freequ[ ].net ['est' in gap]> on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:15AM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:24AM (#32535150)

    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 iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, and are just being a righteously indignant douche; in which case, this is all academic.

  • by hejish (852589) on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:25AM (#32535162) Journal
    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 Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:27AM (#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.

  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:30AM (#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.

  • by cabjf (710106) on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:46AM (#32535442)
    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.
  • Re:lol (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:51AM (#32535512)

    And everyone always hated MSFT for this sort of thing when Apples 10x worse.

    And everyone would hate Apple too, if Apple did what MSFT would do. Two points --
    1. Apple isn't stopping AdMob from serving ads on iOS, they are preventing AdMob and Google from collecting device and user analytics.
    2. People have short memories. This is not the sort of thing MSFT would do. If MSFT were able to control ad placements, they would say only their ads can show up on Android devices AND iOS AND winmobile AND PalmOS. In other words, Apple seeks to control what goes on their own devices, MSFT sought to control what went on everyone's devices. Notice the difference?

  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:51AM (#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 medcalf (68293) on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:52AM (#32535550) Homepage
    That's a pretty tenuous argument. In what way am I (I am a third party app developer, after all) being hurt by this? There are different services that offer to put ads in my software for some payment terms. I can either write software without ads (and charge or not for it, depending on whether I want to make money) or I can write software with ads, hoping to make money off the advertising. If I choose the latter, I can pick from several different ad networks, based on which offers me the best terms; I can even mix and match if I so choose. Now, because of this, AdMob will likely offer worse terms on the iPhone than they would have otherwise; I can choose to accept those terms or not. If Apple prevents anyone from offering good terms on the iPhone, and I want to write an ad-supported app, then I can move to Android and try to do better there. But in no way is Apple really limiting me, as a developer, even if I were to choose to write ad-supported apps.
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:57AM (#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.

  • Ok but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Endo13 (1000782) on Friday June 11, 2010 @09:59AM (#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 whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:01AM (#32535710)

    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've grown in size to be the behemoth that they are, they're becoming everything they claimed to stand against - they are no different from the other mega corps out there now.

    Apple isn't perfect, by any stretch, and they do tend to push the bounds of what is acceptable (in many, many ways) but claims that they are abusing a monopoly or depriving consumers of choice or any of the other claims that other corporation have levied against them are absolutely, without question, laughable when one considers how much of the market the other company owns in their primary business sector. If one turns the accusations around and redirects them back at the company, one will see they are not only similarly applicable, they are overwhelmingly applicable. In other words, the hypocrisy is staggering.

    Amusingly, one could easily assume I'm referring to Microsoft when I vaguely refer to another company being a hypocrite in leveling accusations of abuse of monopoly but I'm not. :)

  • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:01AM (#32535712)

    When Apple courts that "most profitable 5-10% of the market" is when historically they've fell flat on their face. They didn't see great success until they started making products for the unwashed, price-conscious masses, like the iPod and the iPhone. Even the iPhone was a huge bucket of fail when they tried to sell them for full price with a contract the first go round? You remember that entire year of iPhone suckage, don't you, or has that been purged from the Apple history by Steve yet?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:06AM (#32535772)

    What I really don't like is stuff like when I've paid a lot of money to watch a movie and they still expect me to sit through a bunch of ads.

    Like when you pop in a Bluray movie and you can't skip the previews?

  • by forand (530402) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:12AM (#32535864) Homepage
    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 device then you have a point. Choice is a Good Thing, but I strongly suspect most owners of Apple products would CHOOSE not to have intrusive or abusive ads.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:18AM (#32535948)

    They're not protesting user privacy, because it's selective. Every ad company is allowed to collect that analytic information EXCEPT one related to a competitor in the phone hardware space. It is clearly, a move aimed at direct competitors. It has nothing to do with user privacy, user choice, or user protection, it's about Apple protecting their own market and trying to force developers to use their own Ad solution over competitors Ad services. It's the very essence of anti-competitive behaviour.

  • Re:Not a Fanboy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pandrijeczko (588093) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:21AM (#32535982)

    I'm like you, I've never bought an Apple product & the only thing I own made by Apple is a Touch given to me by my missus when she upgraded to an iPhone.

    Over here in the UK, Apple has never been a big player anyway (sure, that may change from this point onwards) and despite 30-odd years of both working with and messing about with computers, they've never made anything at a good enough price that was better than other cheaper options. Recently, they've got too greedy and too closed, just giving me one more reason not to buy their stuff.

    But I would side with Google here. I do have concerns about privacy when using their stuff and I hate advertising - but they make a lot of neat stuff, it's made using open standards and as a Windows/Linux user, it's great that I their stuff works on both platforms pretty much equally well.

    The actual problem is more intrinsic - personal information is valuable to *any* company, not just Google, and privacy is an issue for most people nowadays because they don't bother to stop and think about the type of information they are potentially revealing on applications like Facebook, Hotmail, Gmail, etc. It is entirely possible to make use of these applications provided that you think about what you are revealing about yourself and not put the responsibility for you personal information into the hands of some big faceless corporation.

    It's not *just* about Google, it's about education and making people realise that the safest place to store your information is somewhere where only you can get to it.

  • by rumith (983060) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:27AM (#32536082)
    -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 dayznfuz (1606545) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:27AM (#32536086)
    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. Movie theaters now show ads before the movies start, despite the fact tickets continually go up in price. Hell, Dishnetwork started putting up ads at the bottom of my guide screen. I screamed bloody murder, and THEN they told me how to turn them off (you have to go about 3 screens deep in the setup menu). iAd makes ads easy, prettier, "less" intrusive. All justifications for a developer to stick them in, even if it's a paid app.
  • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:31AM (#32536148)

    The problem here is that you are 100% wrong. There is not a single application included in the stock software that serves an ad. Every single ad-laden app on an Apple-produced product got there because the owner/user downloaded it.

  • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bdenton42 (1313735) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:36AM (#32536206)

    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.

  • Re: Dead wrong (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @11:03AM (#32536586)

    They aren't blocking ALL analytics; only other companies analyitics.

  • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Friday June 11, 2010 @11:11AM (#32536706)

    Does Toyota ban putting Ford stickers on back of the trucks it sells?

  • by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Friday June 11, 2010 @11:34AM (#32537066) Journal

    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.

  • by S.O.B. (136083) on Friday June 11, 2010 @11:42AM (#32537234)

    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 think the problem is that they want to control what they sell in their store. I think the heart of the problem is that they also want to prevent you from wearing that shirt with a pair of pants you purchased at another store.

    Since when does a shirt need an EULA?

  • by Ash Vince (602485) on Friday June 11, 2010 @12:07PM (#32537688) 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.

    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 into developing useful products for free and doing it purely as a hobby or charging the end user to use them. This seems to me to be the only choice until the world stops revolving around money.

    I would love to go back to developing free, open source applications but unfortunately I have rent to pay. I could try solely asking for donations and hoping enough people paid me that I could survive, but I got fed up with seeing all my friends earning enough money to buy stuff while I was permanently skint.

    Like it or not there are far too many people who will only pay for something they find useful if you force them into it by charging up front. Even then there are plenty of people who will try and bypass the payment and use what you spend your time producing without giving you a thing back.

    By moving to an advert supported model you can at least be sure the company that supply the adverts will pay you a nominal fee that increases the more people find your application useful and download it. If you really want to avoid looking at any adverts on your phone, then you can avoid using any advert supported applications or buying a phone where the cost of the handset is subsidised by the money they make back by showing you adverts.

    Most newspapers or magazines contain adverts to keep the cost of them down, in future things like the iphone and ipad will be no different.

  • by Egdiroh (1086111) on Friday June 11, 2010 @12:08PM (#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.
  • by dzfoo (772245) on Friday June 11, 2010 @12:58PM (#32538684)

    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 they are admitting that their business model is dependent on being sneaky with regards to their customers.

    Is this what you are defending?

              -dZ.

  • by dzfoo (772245) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:14PM (#32538926)

    >> 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.

  • by flux4 (157463) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:25PM (#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.

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:46PM (#32539568) Homepage

    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 outside of a web context.

    I just figure, Google can't have it both ways. Either they're beating Apple at their own game--in which case they shouldn't care--or they're still dependent, in which case they just need to step up their phone game.

  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:55PM (#32539714)

    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:Good. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:59PM (#32539790)

    I didn't make my point completely clearly, so let me state it:

    Apple has an incentive to prevent embarrassing or non-consensual collection and use of customer's personal information because they are paid by the customer! If they piss the customer off they get less money.

    AdMob, Facebook and other networks have zero incentive to prevent embarrassing or non-consensual disclosures, and they're paid by people that are dying for those disclosures, and all of the negative repercussions of these disclosures fall onto other parties.

  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Friday June 11, 2010 @02:17PM (#32540102)

    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.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:08PM (#32542114) Homepage Journal

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

Ever notice that even the busiest people are never too busy to tell you just how busy they are?

Working...