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There's some good news for third party networks that want to sell ads on Apple's mobile devices. The Jesus Phone maker isn't currently enforcing its overly strict rules designed to keep competitors from selling targeted ads on its mobile devices. 

According to Omar Hamoui, founder and CEO of Google's AdMob, Apple hasn't been cracking down on its overly aggressive ad rules.

Last month, when Apple revealed its new terms of service and the launch of its mobile ad platform iAd, the company banned mobile ad networks that were owned by third parties from collecting analytics data from Apple's products. That change was set to severely cripple AdMob's business.

At the time, Hamoui wrote:

"This change threatens to decrease – or even eliminate – revenue that helps to support tens of thousands of developers. The terms hurt both large and small developers by severely limiting their choice of how best to make money.

But for now, it looks like Apple isn't making good on its threats. At the MobileBeat 2010 conference in California today, Hamoui explained:

"They haven't been enforcing (the new regulations) yet. We're very appreciative of that."

Considering what a big part of AdMob's business the iPhone is, there is sure to be an issue if Apple starts enforcing its new guidelines.

As Hamoui notes, his company wouldn't even be able to track clicks on Apple devices:

"(With) the level of data that would be restricted ... you can't really do it. It's not technically possible."

Interestingly, Hamoui had some positive things to say about his biggest competitor. According to CNET:

"Hamoui said that Apple's work on its iAds platform was actually a very good thing for the mobile advertising industry, suggesting that when a company like Apple starts talking up the value of mobile advertising, big-name brand advertisers start paying more attention to the market. That means there will be more business for everyone to go around, since advertisers don't like to put all their eggs in one basket."

If Apple starts limiting competitors' access to its products, that could change. Without access to the user data that Apple compiles, competitors would quickly have trouble offering the same quality products as Apple — and they could see a sizable decrease in their mobile advertising business. 

There is of course a major hurdle in the way of Apple boxing out its competition in that regard — regulation happy antritrust bodies. If Apple is thought to be unfairly hindering competition on its mobile products, the FTC could be quick to take action.

And that's a hypothetical that could quickly become a reality, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out recently:

"As the fast-growing mobile-advertising marketplace has attracted the scrutiny of federal antitrust regulators, that apps with third-party ad services are still getting approval into the App Store could take the pressure off of Apple. The Federal Trade Commission currently is conducting an informal inquiry into Apple.


Meghan Keane

Published 13 July, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

721 more posts from this author

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Bangalow Accommodation

Good to see there is some competition for the big players.

over 6 years ago

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