Apple has updated its iOS developer agreement to allow for some sharing of user and device data with third-party advertisers, while effectively banning Google-owned AdMob in the process. AllThingsD reports that in April, Apple changed its developer agreement to ban the sharing of user and device data with third party ad networks and analytics tools, a move that Apple CEO Steve Jobs later said was made in the interest of protecting user privacy, adding that the company might revisit the terms in the future. The new terms allow for the sharing of “UDID, user location data, and other data specifically designated by Apple as available for advertising purposes,” but only when prior user consent has been given, and then in only two circumstances: when the collection, use or disclosure is necessary “in order to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the user of the Application,” or “is for the purpose of serving advertising” to the application.
Notably, the new terms specify that developers “may not use third party analytics software” to “collect and send device data to a third party for aggregation, processing, or analysis.” They also stipulate that third party advertising is only allowed when the advertising service is “an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads (for example, 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 would not qualify as independent).” The new terms appear to ban both AdMob and analytics services such as Flurry, which was singled out in Jobs’ response explaining the initial change.
AdMob founder Omar Hamoui has responded to Apple’s move in a post on AdMob’s blog, saying the changes threaten to “decrease – or even eliminate – revenue that helps to support tens of thousands of developers. The terms hurt both large and small developers by severely limiting their choice of how best to make money. And because advertising funds a huge number of free and low cost apps, these terms are bad for consumers as well.” He added that the change in terms “is not in the best interests of users or developers,” and said the company would be “speaking to Apple to express our concerns about the impact of these terms.”