Cupertino-based company rumored to be launching mobile ad network.
Apple has informed iPhone/iPod Touch application developers that they can't include location-based advertising within their apps. The move has intensified rumors that Apple is planning to launch its own mobile advertising network.
Google clearly seems to be the target here. Google recently acquired AdMob, one of the most popular mobile ad networks. Will Google "retaliate" by closing down options for Android developers? It doesn't seem like that type of policy would match their m.o. What's more, by owning AdMob, it's difficult to see why they would feel threatened by other competitors.
Apple's move seems to be a step in the wrong direction. Developers who put out free apps generally try to get revenue from in-app advertising. Location-based advertising, while still in its infancy, is truly the key to mobile ads. If a company can know that you're in the vicinity, they could send you a coupon incentivizing you to visit their store and make a purchase.
Of course, location-based advertising should always include an opt-in or opt-out policy, but privacy doesn't appear to be Apple's main concern here.
Apple did acquire mobile ad network Quattro Wireless recently. And they better hope that it provides a level of quality that developers can get elsewhere. Apple has a track record of taking devices already invented and pushing them to the next level. Whether that translates to advertising remains to be seen.