Google Breathes A Sigh Of Relief After Reading Apple's New Developer Agreement

This morning’s somewhat vague statement by Apple on updates to it’s developer agreement brought a flurry of questions. Did Apple just allow Flash-powered Apps into the App ecosystem? Will third-party anlaytics companies like Flurry still be blocked? And one important question—did Apple rescind its terms that effectively prevented ad networks that are owned by a device or OS manufacturer (ie Google’s AdMob) from serving ads on iOS devices? According to MediaMemo, it looks like Apple did, in fact change its terms to include non-independent ad networks, such as AdMob, in being able to serve ads on iPhones and iPads.

And Google has just released a statement on its Mobile Ads Blog addressing Apple’s apparent inclusion of AdMob: “Apple’s new terms will keep in-app advertising on the iPhone open to many different mobile ad competitors and enable advertising solutions that operate across a wide range of platforms.”

Apple’s developer licensing agreement in June allowed only “independent” ad-serving companies tol be able to serve ads. AdMob, because it’s “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” (i.e. Google), was restricted from serving ads on apps for the iPhone. AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui confirmed this inn an official response from AdMob. But as we learned in July, Apple didn’t enforce this policy, as AdMob was able to serve ads on iOS devices. This could have been because the FTC was rumored to be sniffing investigating Apple because of these anti-competitive practices.

If Apple was allowed to continue its exclusion of ad networks that are owned by device or OS manufacturers, the effects could have been disastrous for the mobile ad ecosystem.

But Google appears to now be in the clear and can fully reap the benefits from its $750 million acquisition of AdMob and this $1 billion market without the fear of Apple’s wrath.

UPDATE: Adobe has released this statement in response to Apple’s announcement: “We are encouraged to see Apple lift restrictions on its licensing terms, giving developers freedom to choose the tools they use.”