Google, Apple square off over mobile ads

Robert Clark
10 Jun 2010

Google-owned AdMob has complained that Apple’s latest developer terms would cripple its ability to offer mobile advertising tools, opening up what could be a long battle for the keys of the mobile ad kingdom.

In a blog post Wednesday, AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui described the new policy as an “artificial” barrier to competition.

The new rules, updated since the release of iPhone 4, would prohibit app developers from using AdMob or Google solutions on the iPhone, Hamoui said.

“These advertising related terms both target companies with competitive mobile technologies (such as Google), as well as any company whose primary business is not serving mobile ads.”

Apple is preparing to launch its own mobile ad network on July 1.

CEO Steve Jobs told the D8 conference last week it would be open to rival services. “We are not going to be the only advertiser,” Jobs said. “We are not banning other advertisers from our platform.”

AdMob has revealed that a third of the ads it served in April were for the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

MediaMemo blog, which spotted the changes to the developers’ agreement, said it allows user data to be transmitted only to “an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads,” and which is not affiliated with “a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems.”

This would rule out AdMob and its parent Google, which has built the Android operating system.

Google and Apple vied to acquire AdMob, the largest mobile advertising firm, last year. In a deal that took the FTC six months to approve, Google paid $750 million for the business.

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