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Apple iAd Drawing Antitrust Scrutiny 260

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.


  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:17AM (#32535076) Homepage

    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.

  • 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 MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:27AM (#32535206)

    It definitely would not hurt them, Apple is always the best when they are the underdog, they have a tendency to be major assholes once they have success. It was like that in the 80s when they sued everyone for the graphical userinterface, which they obviously did not invent (thanks to that we got stuck with windows and a Microsoft monopoly instead of the back then superior gem)

    It is about time Apple gets a severe smack on its hands again so that Steve starts to behave decently again.

  • Antitrust (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gorzek ( 647352 ) <gorzek AT gmail DOT com> 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?

  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:36AM (#32535302) Homepage Journal

    inevitably advertising gets its dirty claws stuck into everything and actually pays for lots of what we enjoy. its insidious.

    Yes, how dare they pay for us to enjoy ourselves? Damn them!

    Personally, I just use ad block. Thankyou advertisers for enabling me to get better content without paying extra!

    In situations where ads are unavoidable in a service I enjoy, I would gladly pay for the service so that ad support is unnecessary.

    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.

  • by digitalchinky ( 650880 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:58AM (#32535642)

    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 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.

  • 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.

  • by ircmaxell ( 1117387 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @11:12AM (#32535860) Homepage

    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 well...

    It's kind of like if you wanted a 10% raise. You then ask for 20%. If you get 20%, GREAT. If not, you can negotiate down from there, but since the bar is higher, 10% seems like a good deal (you're happy, because you got what you wanted, and they are happy because they "negotiated a fair compromise")_...

  • by andi75 ( 84413 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:55PM (#32538612) Homepage

    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 dzfoo ( 772245 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @02:23PM (#32539112)

    How is Apple giving them free reign, when the policy states that the developer is required to get the user's consent and Apple's written permission to access identifying information?


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