U.S. antitrust regulators–it is not clear whether it is the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice, are reported by the Financial Times to be weighing another investigation of Apple for restraint of trade, this time because of its plans to block rivals from access to its mobile app advertising network.
The ironic point is that regulators continue to bustle about, trying to regulate an access industry fighting simply to replace revenues it is losing, while the arguably-more-important gatekeeper decisions are being made by device and application providers, whose businesses everyone conversely expect will power the businesses of tomorrow.
The latest concern comes less than a month after concluded an investigation of Google’s purchase of AdMob. So powerful is Apple seen to be that the mere presence of Apple in the market with its own iAd network and a suite of “must have” devices was seen by regulators to be enough of a counterweight to Google that there was no risk of anti-competitive behavior.
According to the Financial Times, it is not yet clear whether it will be left to the Federal Trade Commission, which carried out the recent Google investigation, or the Department of Justice to take an investigation forward.
Apple’s latest rules about analytics for bar access to such information by competing ad platforms, third-party analytics firms or companies that compete with Apple in hardware.
Google is saying, and most observers agree, that the rules effectively bar Apple apps from using Google’s ad network.
So consider the possible other implications. Perhaps in retaliation for its exclusion from the Apple application ecosystem, Google makes YouTube inaccessible from iPhones, iPads or iPod Touch devices. Or search, or other apps. You get the point: serious gatekeeping happens all over the Internet and broadband ecosystems these days.