The Greater Apple Co-Prosperity Sphere

Much has been written lately about Apple restricting iPhone and iPad apps to only use Apple programming languages and libraries. This is indeed an alarming development for the future of programming.

Opinion is split as to whether this decision shows Steve Jobs to be a visionary hero seeking only to improve the quality of the user experience, or that he is a megalomaniac Fascist. But I think people are missing what this is really about. It’s about the money. The Ad money.

App Ads are potentially a Google-scale cash flow, and Jobs wants it. He wants to sell ads and inject them into apps on the iPhone/iPad/iDesk, just like Google injects ads into web pages. He can’t do that unless all the apps are using his libraries. If he lets Flash apps in, then Adobe would be able to sell the ads instead. That is why section 3.3.9 of the new developer agreement says “the use of third party software in Your Application to collect and send Device Data to a third party for processing or analysis is expressly prohibited”. Like, for example, Ad networks.

Help me, Google; you’re my only hope.

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9 Comments

  1. Posted May 11, 2010 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Completely agreed. Apple wants to control their platform and be the ones to make the most money on it. They are catering to independent long tail app developers and offer a good business model for them (nice share of profits) but anyone else with a different business model is locked out and cannot innovate on their platform. Programming models are really like business models in this case. If iPad/iPhone locked down business models become popular and is copied throughout the industry (we can already see this kind of happening with Windows Phone 7), there will be no place for programming language designers anymore, innovation will just freeze up.

    Ya, Google may be our only hope, though I work for the opposing team.

  2. Isaac Raway
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know man. You really think that Apple wants ad in apps on their platform? Every time I see an ad at the bottom of an app it is jarring. It’s about the most un-Apple thing I can think of to put these kinds of things in front of users – screwing up look and usability of an application on a device with limited screen real estate. If anything that clause and Apple’s insistence on using their libraries implies to me not that they want to do ads, but they want to stop people doing ads. They want ads to cost money, they want the experience to be 100% user focused – ads are not user focused and they by definition only make sense in free apps.

    Ultimately if Apple does come out with an ad network I will be saddened and very disappointed, not to mentioned surprised.

  3. Eddie Jones
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Apple’s iAds are light-weight HTML5 and CSS3. It’s not ideal to have ads on non-free apps, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a few ads on free apps. Everybody wins with this. Personally I think there are still innovative places to put ads online. Some people are putting them within captcha’s. I’d bet that DirtyPhoneBook is going to come out with an innovative ad-platform soon. It’s all about empotions and psychology and figuring out where else to put ads that people haven’t seen before and I think that Apple is capable of creating this sort of magic formula that works. They’re not an ad-focused company, it’s not in their corporate DNA, so I wouldn’t worry about them being too distracted even if they make Tens of Billions of dollars from this.

  4. Warren
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    It is scary isn’t it? Am I the only one who loves shiny Mac products, but fears the shiny iPad/iPhone/iPod future?

    Warren

    • Neil Murphy
      Posted July 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Never bought any major Apple kit except an ipod as a present for someone else. I don’t care what they do, I don’t develop for them and don’t buy them.

      Jobs is building and misusing a monopoly and like the other big ones (IBM and Microsoft) will come a cropper. Being and aggressive monopoly will eventually draw in the fire of the regulators, but Apple will be so inwardly focused it will eventually stop innovating and die.

  5. Posted June 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    WSJ mentioned this the other day.

  6. DensityDuck
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    It’s actually kind of funny. First there was a big to-do about Apple shutting out Adobe (Flash). Now Apple’s blocking Google Ads. What’s next, Apple’s going to stop you using Yahoo Mail? Ban the Kindle app?

    • Neil Murphy
      Posted August 2, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Probably they will get so cocksure in their various Apple camps that they will start banning each other 🙂

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