Google’s AdMob anxious about exclusion from iPhone

10 Jun 2010

Mobile advertising platform AdMob, which was recently acquired by Google, fears that a change in Apple’s policy this week could prevent it putting ads inside mobile apps.

The news this week that Apple’s iAd platform has attracted US$60m in orders – 50pc of H2 mobile advertising in North America – rightly has executives with Google’s AdMob advertising platform concerned about preventing it putting ads inside mobile apps.

Google acquired AdMob last year for US$750m. Its Android-based smartphones from various manufacturers like HTC and Samsung are competing neck and neck with Apple’s iPhone.

But what is more worrying is Apple’s decision to change the language of its developer’s agreement that could prevent certain third-party ad agencies collecting critical usage data from iPhone applications, or worse, putting ads inside mobile apps.

The reasoning is this could cripple rival ad agencies from targeting their ads and at the same time compete with Apple’s iAd network which will debut in July.

AdMob’s chief executive Omar Hamoui said he will be speaking with Apple to express his concerns about the impact of the new terms.

“Apple proposed new developer terms on Monday that, if enforced as written, would prohibit app developers from using AdMob and Google’s advertising solutions on the iPhone,” Hamoui said in a blog.

“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. This change threatens to decrease – or even eliminate – revenue that helps to support tens of thousands of developers.”

Hamoui said the terms hurt both large and small developers by severely limiting their choice of how best to make money. And because advertising funds a huge number of free and low-cost apps, he said these terms are bad for consumers, as well.

Barriers to competition

“Let’s be clear. This change is not in the best interests of users or developers. In the history of technology and innovation, it’s clear that competition delivers the best outcome. Artificial barriers to competition hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress.

“Since I started AdMob in 2006, I have watched competition in mobile advertising help drive incredible growth and innovation in the overall ecosystem. We’ve worked to help developers make money, regardless of platform – iPhone, Android, Palm Pre, BlackBerry, Windows and others. In the past four years, AdMob has helped tens of thousands of developers make money and build real businesses across multiple operating systems.

“I’ve personally worked with many iPhone app developers around the world, including one who created a fun and simple game in the early days of the App Store. He built the app because he was interested in the challenge. He built this single app into a multi-million dollar advertising revenue stream with AdMob, hired a whole team, and turned a hobby into a real business,” Hamoui said.

Photo: The iPhone 4

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years