Google, Apple in another spat over data

Logos for Apple and Google

Google and Apple are at it again, and not in a warm and cuddly way. Technology's big two are arguing over apps and ads. Google's annoyed about some rules changes announced this week for application developers. Rules that could keep Google and other Apple rivals from placing ads inside the applications being built for iPhones and iPads. The beautiful part here? Apple's gearing up to launch its own advertising system, don't you know, called iAd, this summer.


By Janet Babin

This latest spat is about all that valuable data that mobile ad companies collect about us. You know: where we go, what we buy, what apps we use.

Analyst Ben Schachter at Broadpoint AmTech says Apple doesn't want to share that critical information with competitors like Google.

"Their argument would be to say, you're not entitled to have that data," Schachter said. "You know, we don't get data that Google collects on users that go to Google sites."

But Apple's changes are costly for people like Rob Terrell. His company, Touchcentric, makes apps for the iPhone and iPad, and for Google's Android smartphone.

"It feels like mom and dad are fighting, and I want to put my hands over my ears and wait for it to stop," Terrell said.

If only it were that easy. Touchcentric was set to release a free iPad app this week. The app would have contained ads placed by Google through its advertising arm, AdMob. The ads would have paid for the cost of developing the app.

"Now we can't do that," Terrell said. "And unfortunately, Apple doesn't offer the iAd system for iPad applications yet, so we're kind of stuck."

Apple's iAd advertising system is set to debut this July.

Standard & Poor's analyst Scott Kessler says controlling mobile data gives Apple a huge advantage on the the Internet.

"They have over the last number of months done a number of things to raise some eyebrows," Kessler said.

Kessler says federal regulators will likely review Apple's new rules for anti-competitiveness.

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