Apple and Google square up over iAd and AdMob

Apple boss Steve Jobs wants to keep Google and its recently-acquired AdMob mobile ads business off iPhones and iPads by banning them from its new iAds system due to launch in July.

He says iAd will only take app ads from ‘independent’ sources, whatever these might be.

Google, which has just coughed up £750m to buy AdMob is crying foul, claiming that the move is restrictive and will hit developers, many of whom depend on ad revenue, and also inhibit growth in the mobile ads market. Some US legislators seem to agree, the Federal Trade Commission is threatening to investigate Apple on anti-trust (monopoly) grounds.

Others will say Steve Jobs is up to his old tricks, trying to keep competitors out by unfair means. Such criticism coming from Google might raise a few eyebrows though.

There is a real issue here. It’s like a TV set manufacturer also owning the biggest TV channel. And it’s rather akin to Sky’s position in the British TV market where it owns the biggest digital channel and also the distribution platform on which rival channels depend. In this case Sky has to share of course.

What will be the outcome? Jobs is likely to have to backtrack on this one.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.