Apple may be implementing a number of changes to its iAd mobile advertising platform in an effort to attract more advertisers and to compete more aggressively against Google’s advertising solutions. The Cupertino-based company originally required that advertisers spend a minimum of $1 million on its iAd platform but then halved that figure to $500,000. Now, The Wall Street Journal said Apple is beginning to woo marketers by allowing them to spend as little as $400,000 on an iAd campaign. Read on for more. More →
Apple’s vice president of mobile advertising Andy Miller has left the company to join Highland Capital Partners as a general partner, AllThingsD reported on Wednesday. Highland Capital Partners bills itself as a “venture capital firm focused on building companies in the communications, consumer, digital media, healthcare and information technology markets,” and says it has invested in over 225 seed, early and growth stage companies since 1988. 100 of those companies have gone public or were acquired by other firms. Miller sold his own mobile advertising firm, Quattro Wireless, to Apple for $275 million in 2010. Apple eventually stopped using Quattro’s technology and instead deployed its own iAd mobile advertising platform across its mobile devices including the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. AllThingsD said Apple told its staff of Miller’s departure on Wednesday and that the firm will now begin to look for a replacement. More →
A firm named iCloud Communications has filed a lawsuit against Apple over its “iCloud” trademark. Apple announced the new cloud storage and sync service dubbed iCloud during its WWDC keynote last week, and iCloud Communications now wants the Cupertino-based tech giant to get rid of “all labels, signs, prints, insignia, letterhead, brochures, business cards, invoices and any other written or recorded material or advertisements” referring to the service. The company argues that Apple’s iCloud service is closely related to iCloud Communications’ business:
The goods and services with which Apple intends to use the “iCloud” mark are identical to or closely related to the goods and services that have been offered by iCloud Communications under the iCloud Marks since its formation in 2005. However, due to the worldwide media coverage given to and generated by Apple’s announcement of its “iCloud” services and the ensuing saturation advertising campaign pursued by Apple, the media and the general public have quickly come to associate the mark “iCloud” with Apple, rather than iCloud Communications.
iCloud Communications said that Apple consistently uses trademarks owned by others, and references other legal battles over trademarks for the iPhone, iAd, Mighty Mouse, iPad, and even the name Apple itself. The company is asking for “all monetary damages sustained and to be sustained … including lost profits and reasonable royalties,” as well as “all profits, gains and advantages obtained from Apple’s unlawful conduct,” in damages. More →
Apple has reportedly confirmed to a developer that it is no longer serving advertisements tied to its iAd platform in iOS apps geared toward children. When Mike Zornek — developer of Dex, a free Pokemon app for the iPhone and iPod touch — noticed iAd ads were no longer being served in his app, he contacted iAd support. The purported reply he received from Apple reads as follows:
We periodically review the apps in the iAd Network to ensure that all apps receiving ads are aligned with the needs of our advertisers. Currently, our advertisers prefer that their advertising not appear in applications that are targeted for users that are young children, since their products are not targeted at that audience.
We appreciate your understanding.
iAd Network Support Apple, Inc. 1 Infinite Loop Cupertino, CA 95014
Apple’s iAd product hasn’t been the sweeping success many thought it would be when the company announced the product last year. Apple has since cut its minimum spend in half to $500,000, and it also tried to draw attention to the platform with a gallery of iAd ads packed into a dedicated iOS app. It now looks as though Apple is trying to add further appeal to its iAd product by delivering a network that is more targeted than several competitive networks might be. Of course developers like Zornek stand to suffer from the changes, and in typical Apple fashion, no notice was given to developers. “And that’s how an iAd supported version of Dex died,” Zornek wrote on his blog. “No warning, no notice and inevitably no respect to the developers who have cenetered [sic] their app’s revenue model around the iAd platform.” More →
Publication GigaOM is citing “multiple sources” in a report that claims Apple, Inc. is developing a video advertising system to be incorporated into iAds. The blog reports that the new video adverts would be both Quicktime and HTML compliant and could be targeted (through the use of location and anonymized user data). The speculated service is purportedly being designed for the AppleTV, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update the article accordingly if we hear back. More →
According to a new report, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have come to an agreement that the latter will open a formal investigation into Apple’s iPhone policies. The investigation will look into whether or not Apple’s prohibiting developers from using cross-compilers is anti-competitive. It is unclear whether or not the FTC will also look at Apple’s ban of Adobe Flash on iOS devices as well as section 3.3.9 of the iOS developers agreement which blocks Google’s AdMob from serving ads on the iPhone and iPad. The Department of Justice is said to be in the preliminary stages of an investigation into whether or not Apple has an unfair advantage in digital music distribution. But for the matter at hand, the FTC faces a tough challenge with its investigation. Apple claims it is essential that iOS applications are natively developed to ensure quality and compatibility. Previous experiments with cross-compilers led to what Apple claims were inferior applications, something it fears could damage the platforms reputation for quality applications. On the other hand, many believe that Apple enjoys far too much control over its products and this creates a lack of competition which does nothing but hurt developers and consumers alike. Neither Apple nor the FTC have commented on the matter. More →
Surprise! The U.S. government is once again going to throw Apple under the microscope and investi alleged anti-competitive practices, this time for the new language Apple is using in section 3.3.9 of its developers agreement which appears to be directed straight at Google’s AdMob. This information comes to us by way of The Financial Times. This would mark the second time that federal regulators have looked at Apple relating to mobile ads and one of many other preliminary investigations. It was just yesterday that AdMob broke its silence on the matter and went on the offensive saying that Apple is putting up “artificial barriers to competition” which will only serve to “hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress.” The question in this case appears to be whether or not Apple’s fiercely competitive tactics with iOS advertising are legal or warrant anti-trust action. More →
In a post on his blog this morning, AdMob founder Omar Hamoui lambasted Apple for anti-competitive behavior pertaining to the most recent changes to section 3.3.9 of the iOS developers agreement. According to Hamoui, if Apple should chose to enforce what is written in the agreement, Apple would be erecting “artificial barriers to competition” which “hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress.” While there is in reality very little that anyone can do to get Apple to change its course, Hamoui has said he and Google plan on “speaking to Apple to express our concerns about the impact of these terms.” More →
It comes as no surprise — since Steve Jobs hinted at it during D8 — that Apple has once again revised the controversial section 3.3.9 of its iOS developer agreement. Section 3.3.9 deals specifically with what App Store applications can and cannot do when it comes to the collection of user and device data. The new modifications seem to be more lenient towards independent ad agencies; allowing them to collect user data after obtaining explicit permission from Apple to do so. However, what they’re not so lenient towards is allowing non-independent ad agencies, such as Google’s AdMob, to collect user and device data. The language of the agreement seems to create a legal loophole, that, if exercised, would allow Apple to cut AdMob out of serving ads to its iOS devices:
3.3.9 You and Your Applications may not collect, use, or disclose to any third party, user or device data without prior user consent, and then only under the following conditions:
- The collection, use or disclosure is necessary in order to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application. For example, without Apple’s prior written consent, You may not use third party analytics software in Your Application to collect and send device data to a third party for aggregation, processing, or analysis.
- The collection, use or disclosure is for the purpose of serving advertising to Your Application; is provided to an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads (for example, an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple would not qualify as independent); and the disclosure is limited to UDID, user location data, and other data specifically designated by Apple as available for advertising purposes.
At last week’s D8 conference, Jobs singled out ad agency Flurry for its role in outing prototype iPads through the collection of device data embedded in iPad applications. Apple insists that its data collection policies are about protecting the privacy of its users and not thwarting competition. More →
The Federal Trade Commission had been investigating Google’s bid to buy mobile advertising firm AdMob…that is until today. In an official statement, the FTC wrote, “after thoroughly reviewing the deal…it is unlikely to harm competition in the emerging market for mobile advertising networks.” Apple’s decision to venture into the mobile advertising space (see iAd), seems to have helped Google, as the FTC explains: “As a result of Apple’s entry (into the market), AdMob’s success to date on the iPhone platform is unlikely to be an accurate predictor of AdMob’s competitive significance going forward, whether AdMob is owned by Google or not.” The acquisition provides yet another front in the “mobile war” for Apple and Google to fight on. Let the games begin! More →
According to mobile ad firm Smaato, U.S.-based Symbian users are 2.7 times more likely to click on a mobile ad than their iPhone OS using countrymen. The findings, based on 6 billion ads served up by 40 ad companies in the month of April, are quite puzzling when considering the infinitesimally small share of the U.S. smartphone market Symbian currently occupies. But GigaOm’s Kevin Tofel has what sounds like a very reasonable explanation for the stats: “Symbian is a more mature operating system in terms of age, and both advertisers and developers have used that time to optimize mobile advertising on the platform. Apple’s iPhone OS is a relative youngster compared to Symbian, having only initially launched on a product in June of 2007.” Kind of makes one wonder why the FTC is making such a stink over Google’s attempt at acquiring AdMob and the launch of Apple’s iAd. Moving on… Anyone else think it’s pretty incredible that feature phone users click on more ads than Android, BlackBerry, Palm and Windows Phone users?
According to The Wall Street Journal, the federal antitrust probe looking into alleged anti-competitive practices by Apple has been extended to include an investigation of Apple’s recently announced iAd service. Citing “people familiar with the matter” (natch), the WSJ reports that both the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are taking a close look at Apple’s decision to prohibit developers from extrapolating analytical data from users devices. The main concern is that Apple will effectively be able to lock out competing advertising services from the iPhone OS by making it difficult for advertisers to properly target their ads. The most recent version of the iPhone developers agreement makes it clear in section 3.3.9 that “The use of third-party software in Your Application to collect and send Device Data to a third party for processing or analysis is expressly prohibited.” Several anonymous iPhone developers as well as at least one AdMob employee were said to have discussed the matter with the FTC, as was a wireless advertising executive who was approached by the FTC in its quest to learn about what implications, if any, section 3.3.9 will have on the wireless advertising industry. At this point in time there is no guarantee Apple will actually be rung up in an antitrust suit, but the fact alone that the government is keeping such close tabs is surely not a good sign for the Cupertino company. More →
If your bid to acquire a company is being questioned by the FTC for “anticompetitive” reasons, you have to love when another high-profile company decides to enter the very same space. So for Google, Apple’s decision to launch its mobile advertising platform, dubbed iAd, could not have come at a better time. Google’s $750 million bid for mobile ad leader AdMob, who currently serves up a third of all mobile adverts, has been under serious scrutiny by the FTC. Antitrust regulators are citing concerns about the amount of money, or lack thereof, the users — mostly developers — of services like AdMob are paid. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt commented on Apple’s new presence in the mobile ad space by saying it is: “evidence of a highly competitive market.” We thought he might say that. Will iAd, with its one platform target, really be enough to sway the FTC into green-lighting the AdMob acquisition? Only time will tell. More →