ADOTAS – UPDATED BELOW “Just because we’re competing with somebody doesn’t mean we have to be rude,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the crowd at All Things Digital’s D8 conference last week. He was referring to Google — “They decided to compete with us” — properties, such as maps and mail, remaining prominently on the iPhone and other Apple mobile devices.
Well, it’s too bad Emily Post recently passed away as she could have passed judgment on the two companies’ latest dispute about competitive etiquette. To reframe it in terms of manners, Apple is throwing a mobile ad party and old friend Google is not invited.
Well, neither is Microsoft, if that makes Google feel any better. It doesn’t? Um…
So is rude or just business? Apple’s proposed new developer terms specifically excludes “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.”
Oh, that includes you, doesn’t it, AdMob? You’re with those Google guys now, the ones who make that… Is it the Robot operating system? No, no — Android. Yeah! Oh, don’t they make a phone too? I think I heard something about that. Anyway, what a shame… Keep off our platform.
Google and AdMob took the news as a slap in the face. This move would hurt developers large and small and ultimately consumers by limiting the monetizing choices for apps, AdMob founder Omar Hamoui said in a blog post.
Competition in mobile advertising has driven not growth but also innovation — he cites the story of a developer who built an app on a whim that transformed into multi-million dollar revenue stream… with the help of (ahem) AdMob.
“Let’s be clear. This change is not in the best interests of users or developers,” Harmoui writes. “Artificial barriers to competition hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress.” He adds that the company will be expressing its concerns to Apple.
Apple didn’t feel the need to comment. Microsoft said, in case anyone cares, it was investigating the terms. You do that, buddy.
Getting shut out of the party is going to hurt AdMob from a revenue standpoint: AdMob delivered 30% of its ads to Apple mobile devices in April. It’s another headache for Google after the company finally got government approval for its acquisition. You can imagine someone over there is saying aloud, “What again did we pay $750 million for?”
Then again, Apple could consider the change in developer language just desserts since Google eloped with AdMob as Apple was courting it. This is how the best friendships fall apart — over an ad network.
The winners in this debacle are the independents like Greystripe, Jumptap and Millennial, who will be able to serve ads on whatever platform they please. Always the control freak, Apple will first need to give its blessing for an independent ad server to do its thing on an Apple device.
So while people thought Quattro and AdMob were going to dominate the space, it looks like the indies will get a large piece of the pie mainly because they’re cross-platform operators. There’s a juicy bit of irony in this as Greystripe recently teamed up with Adobe to offer a less expensive iAd rival that is cross-platform and allows developers to build in Flash.
“We are pleased that Apple’s new terms and conditions explicitly allow Greystripe… to operate on the iPhone and iPad platforms,” gleamed Dane Holewinski. Greystripe director of marketing. “It confirms the value of third party ad networks in enabling developers to earn great revenue with their applications.”
He then said, yes, he’d love another crumpet with his Earl Grey, thank you Mr. Jobs.
UPDATE — Greystripe just wanted to make it clear that its relationship with Adobe should not affect its relationship with Apple:
“We have received a couple of inquiries about whether Greystripe will be impacted by Apple’s new developer terms and conditions, given our recently announced collaboration with Adobe. To clarify any uncertainty, Greystripe is an independent ad network and is not ‘…owned or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments.’ We are, and will continue to be, in regular communication with Apple to ensure that we are operating within their terms and conditions.”
Apple shouldn’t have any beef as Greystripe is translating Flash into HTML5. Read all about it here.