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Apple bans competing ads from the iPhone

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Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Apple has tweaked its developer terms and conditions to explicitly lock out in-application advertising services that might compete with its own iAd service.

The new terms, picked up by All Things Digital, spell out the rules. Applications may not collect statistical information for advertising, or any other reason, without Apple's written permission - and you can be clear that Google, Microsoft and/or Opera need not apply.

Even if the user's consent is obtained Apple won't allow the collection of any demographic information for feeding to analytical services such as Flurry, or any purpose that isn't "directly relevant to the use of the Application".

When it comes to advertising, some information can be gathered with the user's permission, but only if the company doing the gathering is "an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads" - our emphasis. Just in case there's any doubt the clause continues: "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", leaving just about everyone else out in the cold.

The largest provider of mobile advertising, and potential competitor to iAd, is AdMob (owned by Google), while AdMarvel is now owed by Opera (arguably in the development environment business). Microsoft doesn't have a mobile advertising play just yet, but when it does it too will be banned from the iPhone.

Developers can still serve advertisements in iPhone applications, of course, but not if they want to gather the kind of targeting information that makes such advertising so valuable - unless they sign up with Apple's iAd. Cupertino has helpfully excluded itself from the new rules, reproduced in full below:

3.3.9 You and Your Applications may not collect, use, or disclose to any third party, user or device data without prior user consent, and then only under the following conditions:

- The collection, use or disclosure is necessary in order to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application. For example, without Apple’s prior written consent, You may not use third party analytics software in Your Application to collect and send device data to a third party for aggregation, processing, or analysis.

- The collection, use or disclosure is for the purpose of serving advertising to Your Application; is provided to an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads (for example, 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); and the disclosure is limited to UDID, user location data, and other data specifically designated by Apple as available for advertising purposes.

®

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