Apple did not only change the name for the iPhone OS 4.0 to iPhone iOS 4 that shocked the world but Google is also shocked to learn that the iPhone-maker actually changed the Developer’s Agreement license to specifically lock-out advertisers who are affiliated with other mobile phone or phone OS makers. This devious tactic was recently discovered by Omar Hamoui, founder and CEO of AdMob. As you know, Google recently got approved by the FTC to complete its acquisition of AdMob which is currently the leading mobile advertising firm. Hamoui said the new condition will force third-party iPhone iOS 4 developers to exclude AdMob ads from theirs apps or games. This could be a disaster for AdMob and Google, effective targeted ads requires access to certain personal data of users which are mostly gathered via the use of smart phone apps.
Hamoui is greatly alarmed – his company earns 30% of its revenues from the iPhone and iPod Touch handsets. He said Apple’s action creates artificial barriers to competition which is true because Apple is set to launch their own advertising service iAd by July 1. Google is obviously angry and is already threatening anti-trust legal action. Apple is still adamant and has so far refused to change this provision for the iOS 4 developers. AdMob and other competing advertising companies that are associated with competing handset or OS makers will no longer be able to have their ads running on the iPhone 4 which is scheduled for release on June 24. Apple iPad and iPhone 3GS owners will also switch to the new iOS 4 by June 21. Just imagine getting locked-out from 30 or 40 millions of handsets, and Google could potentially lose billions of dollars in mobile advertising sales.
Apple is still pissed that Google won the bidding for AdMob six months ago. Steve Jobs and company are exacting sweet revenge but they are threading on dangerous grounds. Google has enough clout to call the attention of federal regulators to look into this new provision of iOS 4. It’s one thing to ban Adobe Flash from all iPhone mobile products but to do a complete ban of competing ad providers smells like unfair trade competition. Nonetheless, Apple can still argue that since their iAd service will not run and compete with AdMob on Android systems, they should also have the exclusive right to the iPhone iOS 4. What do you think?