Google has been feeling the heat over the past few days with the global uproar over its rogue StreetView wifi data collection and its increasingly difficult relationship with Apple. The iPad maker, who was widely rumored to be looking at leaving Google for Bing, has now included Bing as a search engine choice on Safari.
In case you missed it, Apple is reported to have changed the iPhone developers agreement in a move that would exclude AdMob from its services...
This is the Section 3.3.9 of the new agreement: it pertains that ad networks are allowed to share data if:
"The collection, use or disclosure is for the purpose of serving advertising to Your Application; is provided to an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads (for example, an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple would not qualify as independent); and the disclosure is limited to UDID, user location data, and other data specifically designated by Apple as available for advertising purposes."
Translation: AdMob would be excluded and barred from giving advertisers data on how their ads performed with users of iPhone - clearly AdMob's main market.
Three things to bear in mind there: first, so far, it is a question of interpreting the amended terms text; second, despite reports from left and right, Apple has still not commented on the rumor; and last but not least, iPhone users are AdMob's biggest market.
Clearly, although it still holds the biggest market share, and a freshly caffeineted index, Google now has to face competition from the Bing-Yahoo Search Alliance and Bing has also been taking centre stage yesterday with the release of a batch of new features and enhancements.
With Bing-Yahoo in the pipeline, Google needs to push the envelope on innovation to keep the search money coming into its pockets. Furthermore Apple's recent acquisition of Siri and the latest iPhone/AdMob coup is another poke at Google's search hegemony that the search engine giant has to look into.
In this tough multi-channel environment, is Google spread too thinly to keep up with changes in the mobile search market?
Update: Admob have responded to Apple's new developer terms arguing that the new terms will hurt mobile developers most, and stifle innovationm as it will make it harder for them to generate revenue.