Google Applauds Apple's Easing of iPhone Developer Terms

Google VP Omar Hamoui praised Apple's loosening of its iPhone developer licensing agreement, which now allows third-party ad networks such as Google AdMob and AdSense for Mobile.

Google lost little time expressing its approval over Apple's decision to make its iPhone developer licensing agreement more amenable to the inclusion of ad technologies from third parties.

Apple Sept. 9 revised its iPhone Developer Program License Agreement by relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, so long as the resulting apps do not download any code.

The resulting changes seem to pave the way for developers to not only use Adobe's Flash to write apps, but to monetize their apps with mobile ad systems other than Apple's own iAd platform, according to Google Vice President of Product Management Omar Hamoui.

Hamoui, who sold his mobile ad company AdMob to Google for $750 million, noted in a blog post Sept. 9 that the new terms allow developers writing software for Apple's iPhone to use third-party ad networks such as Google AdSense for Mobile and AdMob to make money from their apps.

This is an about-face from Apple's position in June, when the company revised developer terms for iOS to prohibit applications from collecting data without users' consent and selling the data to advertisers that are owned by a distributor or developer of mobile devices.

The new terms were timed to protect iAd, the in-application platform Apple created from acquiring Quattro Wireless after Google grabbed AdMob from Apple. iAd was timed to launch with Apple's iPhone 4.

The success of AdMob was largely fueled by in-application sales on the iPhone. Hamoui was upset about Apple's rule revision because it would shut out developers from using AdMob and Google to make money from ads on the iPhone and even the iPad.

"This change threatens to decrease-or even eliminate-revenue that helps to support tens of thousands of developers," Hamoui wrote in a blog post. "The terms hurt both large and small developers by severely limiting their choice of how best to make money."

Hamoui adjusted his position after Apple announced its rule relaxation.

"Apple's new terms will keep in-app advertising on the iPhone open to many different mobile ad competitors and enable advertising solutions that operate across a wide range of platforms," Hamoui wrote.

"This is great news for everyone in the mobile community, as we believe that a competitive environment is the best way to drive innovation and growth in mobile advertising."

Interestingly, while Apple talked tough in its developer terms, the company never appeared to enforce rules banning third-party ad networks after launching iAd for iPhone 4 and iPad July 1. Hamoui himself noted this apparent lax approach.

Apple claimed in its statement that feedback from developers triggered the changes.

However, the company's loosening of the reins may also have been influenced by the Federal Trade Commission's examination of how the iPhone developer terms affected the mobile ad market and Adobe's Flash technology.