Being the secretive enterprise they are, Apple has never been one to tell the world what their plans are. Tradition rings true with their purposed intentions with Quattro Wireless and their inevitable entry into the mobile advertising space.
A subtle message graced a page on Apple’s iPhone developer website as an “App Store Tip,” saying “If you build your application with features based on a user’s location, make sure these features provide beneficial information,” begins the so-called tip. “If your app uses location-based information primarily to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user’s location, your app will be returned to you by the App Store Review Team for modification before it can be posted to the App Store.”
In other words, Apple is more-or-less banning location-based mobile advertising in its iPhone apps- at least if those ads are coming from a third-party ad-network. Looking at the bigger picture, Apple is obviously readying itself to integrate Quattro Wireless into its iPhone strategy. Quietly taking the feature away from developers by way of a simple “App Store Tip,” means bigger plans are in the works.
It only makes sense that Apple will utilize it’s new “mobile advertising division” (A.K.A Quattro Wireless) to provide the only option for iPhone developers to monetize their apps via in-app location-oriented advertising. By doing so, Apple could potentially lock-out all other competing mobile ad-networks (such as Google-owned AdMob) and have a lock on the largest mobile app ecosystem in existence.
Developers want to create apps for Apple’s App Store because it’s the largest and most profitable for them, not to mention iPhone apps are what consumers crave more than any other device or OS-specific apps. If Apple’s in-app ad-solution is the only option for developers, Apple could go from complete obscurity in the mobile-ad game, to a top player in a very short period of time.
The move to lock out other ad-networks is key to their strategy as well. Google’s AdMob more or less started as an iPhone-based mobile ad-network, taking advantage of the platform and it’s app and location aspects to grow significantly in a short period of time. Cutting off access to iPhones would cut AdMob (and Google) off at the source, and provide a one-two punch from Apple along the way.
While none of this is cut in stone, it’s a likely scenario. It should be fun to watch Google and Apple hash it out in the mobile-ad game. Both players have a lot of cards to play, and in the end, it’ll be a matter of who can lay down the best hand.