Apple backs down over app developer rules, Google trumpets display offer

Apple doesn’t back down very often but it’s given way on the crucial issue of ‘apps’, one the prime driving forces behind the phenomenal take-up of the iPhone and iPad.

Yesterday it announced it would accept apps developed with alternative technology and able to use the same format on other competing ad networks, such as Google’s AdMob.

This will be a huge boost for app developers and their clients who no longer need to provide wholly different formats. It will also boost Apple’s own share of the burgeoning mobile display and, of course, work to Google’s benefit too.

The ostensible reason for the climbdown is the interest taken by the Federal Communications Commission in Apple’s attempt to monopolise this market by only allowing its own iOs operating system. But it may also have reasoned that the market needs to be opened up if it’s to grow into something really substantial.

Which it it may do. Online display, of which mobile advertising is really a part, is out there in a big way but still lags behind search in the online sector with many advertisers still unconvinced of its impact. But things might be changing.

Apple’s big rival Google has just launched a trade campaign in the US called ‘watch this space’ trumpeting its own display offerings to advertisers. The company is trying to overturn once and for all the perception that display doesn’t work as well online as it does in traditional media.

Online has already sucked the life out of the trad media recruitment ad market. If it starts doing the same for display that really will be a nightmare for most media owners.

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