Apple is again said to be at the heart of a new investigation by U.S. regulators, this time over concerns that the electronics maker may be unfairly restricting competitors from serving ads on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Apple on Monday changed the terms of its iOS developer agreement to allow outside, independent advertising agencies to collect data with user consent, but the change also has a provision that appears to exclude Google's AdMob.
Apple will launch its iAd mobile advertising program July 1 on iPhone and iPod touch devices running the new iOS 4. Based on the estimated size of the market, the company says it will take nearly a 50% share of mobile ads in the second half of 2010.
Future iPhones could present advertisements or discount coupons to users based on their current location or activity, through a variety of methods including RFID, in order to increase the effectiveness of the promotion.
If the Federal Trade Commission steps in to block its purchase of AdMob, Google's chief executive Eric Schmidt said in an interview, "we're likely to fight very hard. It's a very strategic acquisition for Google."
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has extended its review of Google's proposed purchase of AdMob by two weeks, as the federal agency will use the time to gauge the impact of Apple's iAd mobile advertising platform.
Apple subsidiary Quattro Wireless is promoting a new "Verification of iTunes Purchase" feature as a competitive advantage enabling iPhone app developers to link to iTunes to obtain data on download conversion rates.
In addition to changes to the iPhone developer agreement banning the use of third-party development tools, a potential inquiry from federal regulators into Apple has been prompted by iAd mobile advertising network, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Apple's debut in the advertising business could come at a premium price for those who wish to participate, with an initial fee potentially as high as $10 million to advertise with iAd, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Gross profit margin from applications for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is projected to jump nearly 38 percent in 2010 with the introduction of Apple's iAd mobile advertising platform, making it a major factor in the company's stock price.
When Apple's just-announced iAd mobile advertising platform matures and sees wide support from the App Store developer community, it could generate as much as $4.7 billion in revenue per year for the company, one analyst believes.