WSJ: Federal antitrust probe about Apple's iAd service, too

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.



Citing "people familiar with the situation," authors Thomas Catan and Yukari Iwatani Kane reported Tuesday that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department are both considering a formal inquiry into Apple for changes to its iPhone developer agreement. The potential antitrust inquiry was first reported Monday by the New York Post.



While the Post cited Apple's banning of intermediary development tools for App Store software, which has caught the ire of Adobe, the Journal said the interest from regulators has also stemmed from new language in the agreement that forbids iPhone software from transmitting analytical data. Existing mobile ad networks reportedly complained to regulators, and said the changes could give Apple's forthcoming iAd service a leg up by making it impossible for competitors to effectively target their advertisements.



The report said that Apple could "head off trouble" by revising the terms of its developer agreement and addressing the sections that have come under scrutiny, according to one person familiar with the situation.



Separately, the FTC has also inquired about iAd as it looks into Google's $750 million purchase of mobile advertising firm AdMob. Developers told the Journal that they were contacted by the FTC, and that the commission is looking into iAd as well as the Google-AdMob deal.



AdMob has also been asked about the iAd service in the course of the FTC investigation. In the last few months, Google has used iAd and Apple's $275 million acquisition of mobile ad firm Quattro Wireless as evidence that there is sufficient competition in the advertising market. The search giant has approached the strategy as rumors have suggested FTC staff will recommend the federal government block Google's purchase of AdMob for anticompetitive reasons.



Apple has seen increased scrutiny from the government in the last year, with the Securities and Exchange Commission having reviewed disclosures made by Apple about the health of its chief executive, Steve Jobs, and whether the company knowingly withheld information from shareholders.



The FTC also investigated potential antitrust ties between Google and Apple, an investigation that led Google CEO Eric Schmidt to resign from the Apple Board of Directors, while former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson, who previously served on both boards, resigned from the Google Board of Directors last October.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 86
    spotonspoton Posts: 645member
    ?pioneers get the arrows, settlers get the land¨
  • Reply 2 of 86
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,742member
    Well, I guess if the WSJ is reporting it, then it must be true that they are looking into an inquiry. This is only using the logic applied by some that the original story had to be bogus because it was in the New York Post. Unless this means we are supposed to group think the WSJ is a disreputable rag now too.



    The iAds issue does seem to be worth looking into. I know the typical defense will be that Apple runs a closed ecosystem so anything the choose to do within that ecosystem is automatically right and that they are not a monopoly so again, nothing they do can be wrong. But those both seem simplistic.



    I am confident that they won't be found to have done anything illegal or wrong, but it just seem poor form for Apple to simply shut out competitors in distinct sectors instead of competing with them. Apple is best when competing on merit. Simply preventing competitors from competing in discrete areas within the platform by using their control over the platform as a whole seems literally anti-competitive, though not legally anti-competitive.
  • Reply 3 of 86
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,113member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    Well, I guess if the WSJ is reporting it, then it must be true that they are looking into an inquiry. This is only using the logic applied by some that the original story had to be bogus because it was in the New York Post. Unless this means we are supposed to group think the WSJ is a disreputable rag now too.



    It's not a rag yet, but since falling into Rupert's smothering grasp, its once-proud flag has been fraying badly at the edges.
  • Reply 4 of 86
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,144member
    "The FTC also investigated potential antitrust ties between Google and Apple, an investigation that led Google CEO Eric Schmidt to resign from the Apple Board of Directors, while former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson, who previously served on both boards, resigned from the Google Board of Directors last October."



    I wonder had this not occurred what would have happened? I assume Google were already planning to ape everything Apple was doing on the iPhone front so the split would have occurred anyway. Or would everyone still be good friends and no Android ... I doubt that.
  • Reply 5 of 86
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,144member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post


    It's not a rag yet, but since falling into Rupert's smothering grasp, its once-proud flag has been fraying badly at the edges.



    Rupert certainly has a way with newspapers (and TV news come to that) doesn't he? I remember back when the Times in the UK, pre Rupert, was a respected newspaper! He brings a new meaning to phrase 'lowest common denominator".
  • Reply 6 of 86
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,752member
    Well, the upshot is, if all these inquiries turn into investigations and cases, we might be able to pair Apple and the adjective "beleaguered" again and not be ironic.



    Those were the days...
  • Reply 7 of 86
    stuffestuffe Posts: 391member
    Apple is doomed (TM)!
  • Reply 8 of 86
    tazinlwfltazinlwfl Posts: 117member
    This is all a plot by google and apple to create a super-giant conglmerate partnership and take over the world... Soon, Apple will buy Google and Eric will become vice president of the world... And Jobs will be SCEO (Super Chief Executive Officer)...
  • Reply 9 of 86
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,793member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stuffe View Post


    Apple is doomed (TM)!



    The only solution here is to shut the company down, sell off the pieces, and return the money to the shareholders. Apple causes too much trouble for its competitors. It is constantly disrupting their tried and true business models with its relentless innovations. This simply cannot be allowed to continue.
  • Reply 10 of 86
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    I am find with Apple being investigated as long as Google's monopoly in this area is investigated too.
  • Reply 11 of 86
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    The only solution here is to shut the company down, sell off the pieces, and return the money to the shareholders. Apple causes too much trouble for its competitors. It is constantly disrupting their tried and true business models with its relentless innovations. This simply cannot be allowed to continue.



    You got it Mikey.
  • Reply 12 of 86
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Smart Google Lawyers using an unreleased product to say hey there is competition. Anyway, yea iAd is obviousely anti competitive. As far as I understand it only apple can use it for in app ads, so unless you want those ugly ads that take you to safari you better pay up. I don't think that can really be fixed. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
  • Reply 13 of 86
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    Well, the upshot is, if all these inquiries turn into investigations and cases, we might be able to pair Apple and the adjective "beleaguered" again and not be ironic.



    Those were the days...



    I think it's safe to say Apple already has the antitrust game figured out.



    $40 billion in cash swishing around, with the best legal team in Silicon Valley, does not make anyone beleaguered. If anything, "Teflon" comes to mind.
  • Reply 14 of 86
    ranreloadedranreloaded Posts: 397member
    Next, Apple is forced to allow Mac OS X on DELL boxes and the like. Apple is forced to allow a crappy Flash plugin into the iPhone OS... Apple is forced to allow Internet Explorer in the iPhone... what else can I do for you, sir?
  • Reply 15 of 86
    kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member
    I wish the banking system had an organization overlooking it as closely as the FTC... oh wait they do, the SEC
  • Reply 16 of 86
    ranreloadedranreloaded Posts: 397member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    Smart Google Lawyers using an unreleased product to say hey there is competition. Anyway, yea iAd is obviousely anti competitive. As far as I understand it only apple can use it for in app ads, so unless you want those ugly ads that take you to safari you better pay up. I don't think that can really be fixed. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.



    Actually the last incarnation of AdMob stays inside the app (uses a WebView). I just found out when I started developing my first free game. I would rather use iAd but obviously it's not available yet
  • Reply 17 of 86
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    Smart Google Lawyers using an unreleased product to say hey there is competition. Anyway, yea iAd is obviousely anti competitive. As far as I understand it only apple can use it for in app ads, so unless you want those ugly ads that take you to safari you better pay up. I don't think that can really be fixed. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.



    Anyone can implement ads that don't switch over to Safari. Most don't. iAd is just a really easy way to do so.
  • Reply 18 of 86
    cu10cu10 Posts: 294member
    Add iTunes to the list?
  • Reply 19 of 86
    stuffestuffe Posts: 391member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    Anyway, yea iAd is obviousely anti competitive. As far as I understand it only apple can use it for in app ads, so unless you want those ugly ads that take you to safari you better pay up. I don't think that can really be fixed. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.



    I disagree, it would be anti-competetive if only Apple could were allowed to place an ad. But anyone else can do the same. In-app ads are all over the place. Any there's nothing to stop anyone from implementing their own method of rich graphical ads that are more than just a text banner. OK, they might not be able to use the iAd system, but that's not anti-competetive - that's competetive!
  • Reply 20 of 86
    adamiigsadamiigs Posts: 355member
    In before trolls!



    This will put apple and google in the same bed, google does the same as apple as far as mobile ads, so it will be apple and google, so we have this and flash, and M$ in apples corner as far as flash ... heh.



    It's funny the FCC can tell you what you can watch over the airwaves on your tv or listen to on your radio sighting um moral concerns, but apple can't keep control over what you do on their devices
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