NEWS10 September 2010

Apple relaxes analytics restrictions – but not for third-party providers

Data analytics North America

US— Apple is further relaxing restrictions on the use of analytics within iPhone and iPad applications to allow any company engaged in selling in-app advertising to collect user and device data.

A previous draft of Apple’s developer agreement stated that only “independent” ad networks could gain access to such data, which looked to put Google-owned AdMob at a disadvantage in competing with Apple’s own iAd advertising network.

Speaking earlier this year, AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui said the terms would “hurt both large and small developers by severely limiting their choice of how best to make money”. This and other criticisms are believed to have attracted the attention of the Federal Trade Commission, which looked poised to investigate.

Whether the changes to the developer agreement announced this week will be enough to divert the FTC’s attention remains to be seen, but they have won over AdMob’s Hamoui. He said in a blog post yesterday: “These new terms ensure that Apple’s developers have the choice of a variety of advertising solutions (including Google’s and AdMob’s) to earn money and fund their apps.”

The revised rule 3.3.9 states:

“You and Your Applications may not collect user or device data without prior user consent, and then only to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application, or to serve advertising.”

Restrictions on sending device data to third-party analytics firms remain.

In a statement Apple said: “We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart.”