It’s Official – Apple Kicking Google Out of iWorld

I've written extensively about iAds here and here, and one question I raised has to do with Apple's policies with regard to third party data and ad networks, in particular AdMob. As All Things Digital notes today, Apple this week "clarified" its policy with regard to third party networks, and…

I’cover5_06.gifve written extensively about iAds here and here, and one question I raised has to do with Apple’s policies with regard to third party data and ad networks, in particular AdMob.

As All Things Digital notes today, Apple this week “clarified” its policy with regard to third party networks, and it’s hard to read it as anything other than a direct declaration of war with Google. In short, third party ad networks can run in AppWorld, but only if they are “independent”. Put another way, sorry AdMob, you’re not welcome here. (I interviewed AdMob CEO at the CM Summit Monday, and asked him about this. This was before the policy was clarified, but he seemed pretty certain Apple would do this.)

I think this is shortsighted and wrong. I also think it’s classic Apple. It’s a re run of the Us vs. The World mentality that forced the Mac into a corner back in the late 1980s. This time, Google plays the role of Microsoft, but it really doesn’t matter. Apple won’t let anyone play in their iWorld who might pose a competitive threat.

This is all we need now – a major platform war, with marketers and developers having to pick sides, cost of development, ad serving, analytics, and marketing services at least tripled (one process for Android, one for iPhone/Pad/Touch, one for Microsoft or Palm/HP or…. ). That’s not what the web is about. It’s disheartening.

AdMob’s response is here. From it: “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. And because advertising funds a huge number of free and low cost apps, these terms are bad for consumers as well.

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.”

What do you think?

91 thoughts on “It’s Official – Apple Kicking Google Out of iWorld”

  1. Hey John Batelle

    1) where’s your screed against Sony not being able to advertise PS3 on Xbox Live, or Microsoft not being able to advertise on the Playstation Network?

    Or are you making an exception because only Apple is evil for it’s walled garden approach?

    For that matter, do you own a Nintendo Wii, Xbox, or Playstation? Because why is it that you are giving them a complete pass for their closed approaches while Appe should be forced to make business decisions that would not only undermine it’s platform while simultaneously enriching a direct competitor.

    I VERY much look forward to your essay about how it’s in Google’s best interest to open up YouTube advertising to all competitors. After all, YouTube videos aren’t much different than apps in the App Store as both are produced by third-party “developers” who can choose to run ads on them to generate revenue.

  2. Apple’s terms don’t just apply to Google at all. They apply to everyone. I know Google doesn’t think rules that apply to everyone should apply to them, but they do.

    And these rules also very much apply to Google’s soulmate Microsoft, who also do advertising and who also have a phone platform and who also have a monopoly to protect and leverage and who also make all of their money B2B.

    All Apple is saying is “ad metrics are for ads only.” Mobile phone developers can’t buy a mobile ad business in order to gain unfair competitive advantage in mobile phone development. Sounds fair to me. Sorry if that causes Google to have to focus on their core business or give up their Android hobby. Or — gasp! — compete.

    Google bought Android in 2005 specifically to prevent Microsoft from shutting them out of the mobile ad market entirely. Now, owning Android is shutting Google out of mobile ads on iOS. Everything has consequences.

    The late 1980’s? You might as well talk about the 1880’s. Not only was Steve Jobs not at Apple in the late 1980’s, he’d been fired specifically so the company could go in the opposite direction to what he wanted. Over the past 13 years, the current Apple has done everything differently than the Apple of the late 1980’s and has had entirely different results. Nobody is more opposite to the Apple of the late 1980’s than the Apple of 2010.

    If you want to see a company that is like Apple of the late 1980’s, look at Google today. What Apple just did to Google with iAd is what Microsoft did to late 1980’s Apple with Windows. It’s classic tortoise and hare. Google should have redefined the mobile ad as an interactive, rich media HTML5 app, not Apple. Instead, Google is playing with their Android hobby like late 1980’s Apple played with Knowledge Navigator when they should have been doing NeXT, which Steve Jobs took with him when he left Apple (it was codenamed “Big Mac”). Had late 1980’s Apple done NeXT, they would have made Windows 3.0 obsolete 5 years before it was born. Instead, even Windows 95, which replaced Microsoft’s copy of the Mac UI with Microsoft’s copy of the NeXT UI, went to market in 1995 up against the same overextended 1984 Mac system. And the half-assed Newton hurt Apple’s brand like half-assed Android hurts Google’s today.

    Web publishers are now saying “how can I get iAds on my site?” If Apple brings iAd to the Web it could be very bad for Google’s core business. A few million Android v2 phones do not make up for that.

    > Us vs. The World

    You’re making a common mistake that is made today, of assuming the PC industry is the world, and that Apple should be a part of it. Apple spent the last 10 years getting out of PC’s. In 1998 Jobs said he wanted Apple to be more like Sony, to be a consumer electronics company. Today, Apple is not going it alone, they redefined the consumer electronics industry for the 21st century and now sit right at the heart of it. Mac, not Windows; Unix, not DOS; ISO MPEG-4, not WebM or WMV or Ogg; OpenGL, not DirectX; curated apps, not malware. You can tell Apple is not part of PC’s because their products just work, they don’t sell kits or make work for consultants.

    Apple and it’s users don’t want to be part of the Microsoft/Google/PC industry. We hate that industry. We are thankful there is a technology company that is totally separate from that. We don’t want the PC industry’s half-baked B2B products with hidden agendas. Google’s customers are advertisers. Microsoft’s customers are PC makers. Apple’s customers are consumers, the actual users of the products. So yes, Apple has different priorities than Google and Microsoft and the PC industry (hello Adobe). Google and Microsoft will make business-friendly decisions and Apple will make consumer-friendly decisions and so they will differ. That is a key advantage for Apple because it’s what gives them their 95% customer satisfaction rating and loyal customer base who fund their user-focused product development.

    The irony of what you’re saying is pronounced when you consider Google just shat out WebM into a world with universal ISO standard video capture, authoring, and playback. Missing from their WebM partners was *all the video people*: the entire consumer electronics industry and all the video producers and tool makers. Talk about us vs them.

  3. Google has chosen to be a direct phone competitor to Apple. Ad companies that are not phone competitors are still free to gather data.

    Does HTC allow Motorola to gather usage data on HTC phones? Does RIM allow Nokia to gather usage data on RIM phones?

    Does any company allow a direct competitor to come into its store and gather data on what is being sold? Or come into its product and gather data on how its being used?

    You should just stop writing about Apple as every time you do, you just have something to complain about. It’s almost reflexive.

  4. to Omar, Google, and all the whiners … read this sentence from Steve Jobs, repeat 1 million times, and hopefully you get the point ==> “What I love about the marketplace is that we do our products, we tell people about them, and if they like them, we get to come to work tomorrow.”

  5. “That’s not what the web is about.”

    Also, Why do you keep referring to the iPhone platform as the web? It’s not.

    The web is the web. The iPhone has access to the web, but it has things that are not in the web. Not everything is in the web.

    Your company is not the web. It contributes to the web, but not everything in your company is in the web.

  6. A) Why should Apple let a direct and fierce competitor profit off their own product if they can help it?

    B) I should feel bad that there is one market The Google Anti-privacy Machine can’t dominate search in?

  7. Google doesn’t tell how it’s search works to Microsoft or Yahoo because it’s competitive information that gives Google and advantage. How customers use the iPhone, what apps they use another analytics are a competitive advantage to Apple. Apple doesn’t have to help Google in a competing business. If the ads are more important that Android, than Google should sell off Android. They chose to compete with Apple in the cell phone market and now they have to live it. They have their own platform to display ads on.

    All this whining is getting old. Apple isn’t the bad guy in this case.

  8. First, Apple is NOT banning AdMob ads from running on their mobile platforms. They are preventing the transmission of platform analytics from being sent to competitors. Big difference.

    AdMob (Google) is upset because they (not the developer) monetize such data by selling it to advertisers as a “value add.” This ruling prevents them from capitalizing on iPhone customer data in a way that benefits only their bottom line and no one else’s. Tough.

    All they have to do is develop their own platform and make it a more compelling value than Apple’s, and Voila! problem solved.

  9. >> The fear that this would happen is the entire reason Google built Android.

    This wouldn’t of happened if Google didn’t build Android. Why do you think Google isn’t allowed in when other third party companies are. Apple isn’t going to let them collect analytics on the iPhone to help their competing product.

  10. Jobs kept his software “closed” in the early 80’s and MSFT roared over and past them. He’s won with iTunes and again with the iPhone – for now. I predict that a proprietary, closed approach will backfire in advertising for a many reasons not the least of which is that their are bigger and better alternatives. Jobs’ knows it hence the reason he’s already declaring it a minor part of their growth strategy. As an online marketer I’ll be watching.

  11. perhaps Google shouldn’t have brought a knife to a gun fight!

    How stupid do you need to be to get so greedy and decide to go into another business “phones” against one of your best partners because the billions and billions of dollars you’ve already made aren’t enough. F-em!

    @ Hamranhansenhansen gives a very accurate history and background, G-bois should read it and learn something.

    Jobs has already been stabbed in the back by partners Gates and Sculley, he won’t make the same mistake twice. Google will never have what Apple has no matter how many features they check off the list. Apple makes the best product they can and they let the consumers decide to buy or not, they don’t care if they can check off a feature on a list, they care how the feature and product works period.

  12. perhaps Google shouldn’t have brought a knife to a gun fight!

    How stupid do you need to be to get so greedy and decide to go into another business “phones” against one of your best partners because the billions and billions of dollars you’ve already made aren’t enough. F-em!

    @ Hamranhansenhansen gives a very accurate history and background, G-bois should read it and learn something.

    Jobs has already been stabbed in the back by partners Gates and Sculley, he won’t make the same mistake twice. Google will never have what Apple has no matter how many features they check off the list. Apple makes the best product they can and they let the consumers decide to buy or not, they don’t care if they can check off a feature on a list, they care how the feature and product works period.

  13. The fear that this would happen is the entire reason Google built Android.

    This is utter bulls**t.

    Google started all of this. Google held an Apple hatefest just a couple of weeks ago and Apple’s just supposed to let Google declare all-out war do nothing about it?

    Sorry, I don’t think so.

  14. Can someone enlighten me: does Google allow anyone and everyone to use Android as a platform for their ads? Can Bing distribute a development platform to make Android their ad platform on Google phones?

  15. “Guys, this is not analogous to AdWords. AdWords is Google’s platform for the site *it* owns, google.com. Apple doesn’t own the developers and apps who now have fewer choices for monetization on its platform.”

    Fewer choices? Wouldn’t it be more choices? Did we have another choice besides google and it’s newly acquired subsidiary? I mean if Apple didn’t create iAds then AdMob might actually still be independent but that investigation was halted. Very ironic indeed.

    You should acknowledge your argument is very one sided. Google owns google search platform. Apple owns the iPhone platform.

  16. John’s right. At first, I had the same reaction: Well Google controls their Ad platform, why shouldn’t Apple control theirs? But on second thought this would be like not allowing Google Adwords to run on OSX or WIndows machines. This control freakishness is disheartening. And also this holding a grudge thing. But I guess we’ll see how the market plays out. I’m a current iPhone user, but am going to take a serious look at the EVO.

    I can’t see it being good for Apple long term. I mean isn’t this closed, dictatorial type platform the reason that Android got an opening and has blossomed in the first place? More of it would seem to create more opportunity for Android/WebOS/ and maybe Phone 7

  17. “The fear that this would happen is the entire reason Google built Android.”

    Uh, Google acquired Android LONG before Apple announced the iPhone. Long before the App Store existed.

    http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2005/tc20050817_0949_tc024.htm

    That’s right. 2005.

    Apple announced the iPhone in January of 2007.

    “Don’t be evil” was nice slogan that fooled plenty of people for a while. Apple put Bing! on the iPhone, because the real fear is that Google will own/operate/advertise on everything.

  18. When Google lambasted Apple a few weeks back at their conference, they showed how much class they have. Comparing Apple to North Korea comes very close to an invocation of Godwin’s Law.

    When Apple returned fire at their conference this week, they never even mentioned who it was they were jack-slapping. Very classy. And they didn’t just talk, they hit Google where it hurts.

  19. We were all getting along so nicely…
    And then Google came up with a sucker-punch!
    Slam!

    Android punched at Apple right in the middle of Apple’s business model. The most sensitive place to land a low-blow.

    Business is war, as they say.

    So Apple punches back at Google’s advertising revenue.

    Why is anyone surprised?

    If Google don’t have the guts for a fight, they shouldn’t have landed the first punch.

    C.

  20. Google has been toiling to make its services more appealing to people who access the Net over cell phones and other mobile devices. In April, the company uncorked local-flavored search for mobile users. Also in April, it announced Google Short Message Service (SMS), which sends text-based information to mobile users seeking everything from driving directions to weather forecasts..

  21. 1. Google began to compete with Apple in Mobile Phone business
    2. Apple hasn’t begun to compete with Google in Search business
    3. Now Apple strikes back with action against AdMob.
    4. iPhone developers, from what I can read on the forums and from own experience as the company, which developed around 100 apps for iTunes App Store, can tell you that AdMob doesn’t work for developers, don’t bring profit developers expect.

    PS. Ha, I hasn’t read the previous comment, but it turns out we both think alike 🙂

    Artyom Diogtev – New Media Manager
    ComboApp

  22. Lava and Hamranhansenhansen have nailed it.

    As for Apple “shutting out competition” – the competition still exists. It’s now up to Android and AdMob to create an advertisement experience that is as/more compelling than iAd.

  23. “Apple doesn’t own the developers and apps who now have fewer choices for monetization on its platform.”

    @ John Battelle and others sharing his opinion:

    Indeed developers (which I’m part of) have fewer options but they still have plenty.
    I am allowed to deal with any party as long as they are not in direct competition with Apple.
    This type of clause exists in contracts most people have signed with their employers!!!!
    This is understandable from Apple. They have to protect their lunch from “Don’t Be Evil”.

  24. Any free app I download that’s got AdMob crap in it get deleted after first run so it can hurt dev’s that use it as I just hate it when they close the app even when you accidentally touch them so I am looking forward to iAds as I will look at some now that it wont close apps & be like interactive if the company in the ad makes it that way.

    iAds win
    AdMob fail

    Lava says:
    AdMob belongs to Android now. You made your choice. Deal with it.

  25. Given that Google is investing heavily in Android to compete with the iPhone it would seem counter-intuitive for Apple to leave their products open to them… shame though, on a personal level – every little helps!

  26. I like a lot of the posts being added here that support Apple’s move. Apple doesn’t need to play Mr. Nice Guy, while Google goes around touting “don’t be evil,” with a knife behind their back. Here’s a poll that came out showing 60% support Apple’s move here. Google & AdMob, you’re going to have to come up with some new poor and weak competitor angle cause your previous whine isn’t working so well.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/poll-is-apple-wrong-to-prevent-data-collection-from-rival-mobile-operators-2010-6

  27. Ronald wrote: “Does Google allow other networks to run ads in its search result pages?”

    YES — Google DOES allow other networks to run ads in its search results.

    We call them “Organic Search Listings” in the SEO industry.

  28. These are valid points. However, which ad serving platform is used matter very little to the user. As a heavy user of Apple computers/devices and PC’s I don’t care that much about who serves the ads.

    What I want and love about Apple is that there products and interfaces are useful, elegant, more importantly, they work. Apple’s issue in the past was that they didn’t have enough scale for serving ads. They do now. With iPods, iPhones, and iPads they have enogh users to make are relevant ad network. That’s all the users care about.

  29. Google decided to enter the mobile hardware devices space which is the heart of Apple primary biz. So what’s wrong and a bunch of whiners to those Android fanboys when Apple decided to enter and own the mobile ads space now? If the Google is smart what they claimed to be, prove it in the marketplace that you are better than Apple and Jobs. Jobs dare and challenge you, pick up the sword and be a man!, don’t just whine in the closet and complaining all day long.

  30. John,

    We like you but sometimes you are wrong on the facts. AdWords is a very close parallel. For those sites that choose to use Google Search they will also carry AdWords. Not Yahoo Search. Not Bing. AdWords. Period.

    Ask AOL how much luck they had trying to get “other” search ad companies onto THEIR results pages. They wanted to do it. It never happened.

    John, you sometimes are short on the facts which has always been my issue with you.

  31. Apple just shook the mobile ad market by changing the terms of its iOS developers agreement.

    Only independent mobile ad companies will be allowed to collect data on users and then target ads using that data in iPhone/iPad applications. This effectively prohibits mobile ad networks that are subsidiaries of larger mobile companies from advertising in iPhone applications.

    AdMob says the change in developers agreement means it can’t advertise in iPhone apps anymore. An Apple rep tells us AdMob can still advertise in apps. We asked the rep if AdMob could collect data on users. He couldn’t (and hasn’t) answered that question.

    On the surface, this looks really bad for Apple. It’s basically booting a big ad network that supports thousands of developers by generating ad revenue. It also looks positively terrified of Google and is trying to stop Google from gathering information on.

  32. Apple now has 14 days to hop over Google and reclaim mobile momentum. it’s right that apple kicking google out of iworld. And this is nw up to google to do something extraordinary and innovaive. Nice post.

  33. “Jobs has already been stabbed in the back by partners Gates and Sculley, he won’t make the same mistake twice. ”

    Isn’t that twice already? 🙂

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