Apple’s move to revise the terms of its application developer agreement, revealed last week, suggests the company now intends to allow competitor Google to sell and serve mobile advertising into applications on its devices, having previously barred it from doing so.
The update has removed language that stipulated developers were not permitted to make use of third-party advertising or analytics products from companies that are “owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices,” which includes AdMob thanks to parent company Google’s involvement in the mobile device market with its Android operating system.
Although the previous version of the agreement was not being enforced by Apple, and AdMob ads continued to appear on its devices, Google publicly condemned its competitor’s approach, arguing, “Artificial barriers to competition hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress.”
In a post on Google’s Mobile Ads blog on Thursday, the company’s VP of product management and former AdMob CEO, Omar Hamoui, said the company was “very pleased” with the revised agreement, stating it will allow both Google and AdMob to continue to serve ads to Apple devices. “This is great news for everyone in the mobile community, as we believe that a competitive environment is the best way to drive innovation and growth in mobile advertising,” he wrote.
The revised agreement will also allow developers to port across applications built with Adobe’s Flash technology, which it had previously prohibited. Flash-based ads will still not be displayed in – either in apps or in web browsers on its devices.
In May, sources close to the Federal Trade Commission said the FTC and the Department of Justice were discussing a possible investigation into Apple’s practices in the mobile space in relation to both mobile advertising and the Flash limitations. At the time, Berg said the pair was in the process of deciding which body would conduct an investigation. It’s possible, therefore, that Apple’s amendments were a direct response to scrutiny from either body.
In a statement released on Thursday Apple made no reference to the proposed regulatory probe or its updates regarding mobile advertising. It said simply that it was “relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps,” to give developers “the flexibility they want, while preserving the security [Apple] needs.”