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US weighs up probes for Apple ad biz checkup - report

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US regulators are preparing to probe Apple to see whether it is unfairly restricting competition for adverts on its mobile devices, the FT reported today.

The putative investigation apparently centres on whether Apple's spawning of its own network to post flog ads on apps for the much-stroked devices is a threat to media industry titans tiddlers rivals such as Microsoft and Google.

The paper cites not one, but two persons familiar with the situation who say the Feds are deciding whether to put the FTC or DoJ on the case.

Apple recently slapped developers with rules that restrict their ability to forward key info to ad networks punting their own their own mobile technology - such as Microsoft or Google.

Apple and Google were staring each other in the eye just yesterday. AdMob's founder and CEO Omar Hamoui said in a post on the company blog: "Let's be clear. This change is not in the best interests of users or developers."

He should know about the issue - Google's acquisition of AdMob was only cleared by regulators last month.

Separately, Apple has also raised eyebrows with its drive to keep Adobe off its mobile platforms, and with its unpredictable approval regime for app developers.

While Apple, and its rivals, are clearly conducting a vicious knife fight to control the mobile ads market, and any other market they can, whether this represents a threat to competition is another matter. The FT points out that the law is designed to protect consumers, not bickering billionaires. ®

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