iAd: Rumors of renewed government interest

In the last couple of months several rumors of government interest in Apples activities have surfaced, gone away and resurfaced.  The latest rumor is that either the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Department of Justice would carrying out an investigation into the terms of the development agreement for Apple’s iOS which restrict the sending of user and device information to companies that produce or are controlled by one that produces mobile devices or operating systems.

As AdMob was recently acquired by Google, it would fall into that restriction.  Currently AdMob is the largest player in the mobile ad space, but being blocked from almost 100 mi users of Apple’s iPhone, iPod and iPad would put a serious dent in the leadership position.  Not surprisingly, this has drawn criticism from Omar Hamoui, AdMob’s founder and CEO.  Omar Hamoui claims that this change is against the best interests of developers and ultimately end- users.

The fact is that the letter of Apple’s proposed new agreement is clear.  There is no restriction to any ad serving service, but there are restrictions to manufacturers of competing products and services.  If AdMob had not been purchased by Google, it would have no issue with the new terms. Ironically the FTC approved the AdMob acquisition by Google citing that the entrance of Apple in the mobile Ad business was an indication that there was competition in this space.

While I’m far from being an far from being an expert on US law, I fail to see how a company that does not hold a dominant share of any market should could be targeted by an anti-trust investigation (understanding that anti-trust is not the same as anti-monopoly).

I can’t imagine any other electronics manufacturer being questioned as to why it wouldn’t allow data collection code from a competing manufacturer to be  used used in their products.  Can you see anyone questioning Nintendo why they won’t let Sony or Microsoft provided ad and data collection code to be included in games for the Wii?   How about Motorola and Nokia?

Related Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *