US antitrust regulators plan to investigate whether Apple is unfairly restricting rivals such as Google and Microsoft in the market for advertisements carried on the iPhone, iPad and iPod, says a media report.
The US regulators have already taken an interest in Apple’s actions, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the move.
Apple has introduced its own network to sell display, video and interactive adverts in the small programmes known as apps, which have fuelled the rapid adoption of Apple’s devices.
The company has sold USD 60 million worth of adverts that will begin on July 1 and run for the rest of the year.
The case provoked a rare public dispute between Google and Apple, as the Internet group claimed its market-leading mobile advertising network was about to be unfairly excluded from Apple’s devices, the report noted.
According to the publication, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have been making inquiries in recent weeks about Apple’s conduct in distributing digital music and barring iPhone applications created with Flash.
The report said that Apple’s latest rules for developers who create apps for its devices limit the situations in which they can send approved information about their apps’ audiences to advertising services.
The information cannot be sent to advertising networks that are affiliated with companies developing or distributing mobile devices or operating systems, a definition that effectively excludes Apple rivals like Google and Microsoft, it added.
Such information, including user locations, is critical for making mobile advertising more effective. Google complained that this would have the effect of barring its AdMob advertising service from apps inside Apple’s system, the daily said.