Is Steve Jobs closing off iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad to rival ad networks?

invisibleSHIELD case for iPadPeter Kafka wonders for AllThingsD, “Is Apple, which just launched its own ad network, crippling competitors that want to sell ads on its iPhones and iPads?”

“That’s how some competitors are interpreting a clause in the developer agreement Apple released last week when it announced the new operating system that will power its mobile devices,” Kafka reports. “They’re concerned about language in the contract that seems to ban apps from transmitting data that third-party ad networks would use to track their ads’ performance.”

“If they’re right, Apple’s contract would severely handicap rival ‘in-app’ ad networks–like Google’s AdMob–without formally banning them,” Kafka reports. “‘Ads don’t exist without analytics,’ says a mobile ad executive. ‘Can’t measure it, can’t bill for it.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Why would Apple allow a direct mobile device competitor like Google to have access to information about iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users, including location data from the devices, along with numbers of units in use, among other things? Answer: Apple wouldn’t and shouldn’t. Does Amazon allow Barnes & Noble to gather information about how many Kindles access the network, their locations, and which books they’re buying and reading? Of course not. The answer to our headline, from Apple shareholders, at the very least, should be a definitive “He’d better be!”

Kafka continues, “The language in Apple’s agreement that worries ad networks also seems to cause problems for companies that only sell analytics, like Adobe’s Omniture.”

MacDailyNews Take: Tough shit.

Kafka continues, “[From Apple’s agreement], Section 3.3.9, which falls under the “User Interface, Data Collection, Local Laws and Privacy” section: ‘Notwithstanding anything else in this Agreement, Device Data may not be provided or disclosed to a third party without Apple’s prior written consent. Accordingly, the use of third party software in Your Application to collect and send Device Data to a third party for processing or analysis is expressly prohibited.'”

“This doesn’t expressly prohibit ad networks from selling ads, but it prevents them from selling targeted advertising, which is close to the same thing when it comes to mobile devices,” Kafka reports. “The same problem would plague analytics companies, which might be able to compile very broad usage info about apps, but little else.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s a reason (besides the fact that, in our case at least, they pay significantly better) why we began the process of dumping AdMob (which Google is trying to buy) for Quattro Wireless on Jan. 5, 2010, the day that Apple bought Quattro. (Our transition from AdMob to Quattro was completed in late February with the release of MacDailyNews 2.0 app.) AdMob and other third-parties have long had access to far too much in-app critical information regarding and emanating from iPhone OS devices. Only Apple should retain access to such in-app data for competitive reasons.

[Attribution: CIO. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “TheLagosChap” for the heads up.]


  1. I think all the confusion people are having over Apple’s moves with the iPhone/iPad are directly related to their lack of understanding of what Apple is shaping that platform to be. Take a look at what Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft are doing with their gaming platforms – you have to code using the tools they specify, etc. – and it will suddenly make a lot more sense.

  2. It would have surprised me more if apple would play nice with their mobile ad-competitors. Now the world makes sense again. Steve jobs was unnaturally humble when he talked about iAd last week. Now we know he was acting. Nice!

  3. Of the childish pissing matches between Jobs and the flavor of the week and don’t forget those eloquent mdn “editorial” comments.

    This dictatorship mentality will backfire eventually, but steve will retire richer because of it and those that follow like sheep.

    I am an apple product fan. I am not an apple business fan.

  4. @ So tired – whereas those who whine and complain like anti-Apple sheep have all the answers as to what Apple should *really* be doing… not.

    Given Apple’s track record thus far, I’d rather trust that they know what they’re doing, than I would trust random commenters spouting their usual “advice” for Apple.

  5. hmmm maybe this is against the law? And a monopoly of some sort… hopefully some American or European government looks into Apple’s business and finds illegal activity! That would be awesome!

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