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AdMob CEO says Apple's iOS terms are not in best interest of consumers


Responding to Apple's changes to the iOS developer agreement, the chief executive of AdMob said Wednesday that he believes developers will lose money and consumers will have access to fewer free and low priced applications on the iPhone.

This week it was revealed that Apple had modified section 3.3.9 of its iOS developer agreement stating that user data can only be obtained with the consent of the user, and only provided to "an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads. It specifically states that advertising services that also develop or distribute mobile devices and mobile operating systems are not allowed.

That excludes AdMob, the largest mobile advertising firm on the Internet, which was recently acquired by Google for $750 million. Google is also responsible for the Android mobile operating system.

Omar Hamoui, founder and chief executive of AdMob, posted on the company's blog Wednesday in response to Apple's changes.

"This change threatens to decrease — or even eliminate — revenue that helps to support tens of thousands of developers," Hamoui wrote. "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," he continued. "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."

Hamoui said he and others with AdMob plan to speak with Apple to express their concerns about the impact of the changes to the iOS developer agreement.

Apple's changes to its developer agreement this week aimed to tweak a revision first made in April. When iOS 4 was introduced, Apple updated the terms of its mobile operating system developer agreement, restricting outside advertising agencies from collecting information about users.

Last week at the D8 conference, Chief Executive Steve Jobs revealed the changes were made to protect user privacy, and were not meant to be anticompetitive. In an on-stage interview, he singled out Flurry Analytics, which, unbeknownst to Apple, was collecting information about devices through App Store software.

Apple's issue from Flurry came from the fact that the firm boasted in January that it had tracked a number of devices on Apple's campus running an unreleased version of iOS. Those devices turned out to be Apple's then-unannounced iPad.

On Monday, section 3.3.9 was modified again, this time to state that applications "may not collect, use, or disclose to any third party, user or device data without prior consent."