Google Grateful Apple iAd Allows AdMob Ads

Google AdMob founder Omar Hamoui said Apple is not yet banning advertising technology providers from collecting data from iPhone applications. This is a big deal for AdMob, the leading provider of in-application ads on the iPhone.

Apple is not yet banning advertising technology providers from collecting data from iPhone applications, the vice president of Google's mobile ad unit confirmed.

Omar Hamoui, who sold his mobile display ad company AdMob to Google for $750 million in May, said AdMob's advertising customers have successfully been able to place ads within iPhone applications.

"They haven't been enforcing [the new regulations] yet. We're very appreciative of that," Hamoui said at the MobileBeat 2010 conference, according to CNET.

Apple drew the ire of AdMob in June when it revised its iPhone Developer Agreement for iOS 4 to prohibit data collection from 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."

That would preclude mobile ad providers such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AdMob from running ads within applications on the iPhone. AdMob is the leading provider of in-application ads for the iPhone, directly challenging how Apple's new iAd platform serves ads.

Apple's move seemed to be a defensive move in the spirit of competition, a sign of the growing rift between Apple and Google in the mobile market, where Google's Android platform challenges the iPhone.

Hamoui said in a blog post Apple's move would be bad for competition and bad for consumer choice.

The Federal Trade Commission apparently agreed and is reportedly scrutinizing Apple's mobile business practices amid complaints the Google, AdMob and others are being locked out of the iPhone.

At MobileBeat, Hamoui was more specific. He told the audience Apple's revised terms meant AdMob would not be able to run ads on the iPhone at all.

He said that without the analytical data generated by consumers in apps, AdMob cannot track who had clicked on their customer's ads; advertisers won't buy ads when they can't measure how effective their campaign is on the iPhone.

But when Apple turned on iAd July 1, developers who use AdMob and Google's AdSense for Mobile told the Wall Street Journal their ads worked on the iPhone just fine.

Hamoui's comments confirmed this. It could hold that the looming threat of regulatory investigations spurred Apple to unofficially allow AdMob, Google and other third-party ad providers its developer terms were meant to deny.

He added that iAd is good for AdMob and Google because it raises the profile of mobile advertising, stimulating growth for others. ABI Research recently said mobile ad spend in the United States will exceed $1.2 billion in 2015.

A successful iAd is also very dangerous for Google, which may find itself in an unfamiliar position in an online ad market: looking up at Apple, whose iPhone and iPad tablet have made Apple the premier mobile operating platform for which to write apps.

He also made comments that may have alluded to AdMob's future ad strategy. He noted that there shouldn't be anything that an ad network can do that a publisher can't do regarding ad units.

Ideally, he said, mobile publishers should get access to more technology, which will bring them on par with ad networks and therefore bringing more standardization to the market.