Apple facing antitrust probe over ad restrictions
Apple is staring down the barrel of an antitrust probe into its move to clamp down on advertising on its devices, while the FBI investigates the recent AT&T security breach involving the iPad.
Regulators plan to investigate Apple's decision to restrict mobile advertising on its platforms to a limited subset of providers, sources told FT.com.
The new guidelines mean only “independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads” can serve advertising for the iPhone, iPad and iPod.
The move, widely seen as a swipe at rival Google's AdMob business, could be anticompetitive considering that Apple recently introduced its own display, video and interactive advertising service, iAd.
Apple had pre-sold $60 million (€49.6 million) worth of ads as of Monday.
But the iPhone is also big business for AdMob. A third of the ads served by the mobile advertising company in April went to an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
US trade regulator FTC has just finished investigating Google over the antitrust implications of its AdMob buy – and it was Apple's iAd plans which convinced FTC to sign off on the deal.
Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating the security breach that resulted in the email addresses of some 114,000 iPad owning AT&T subscribers being leaked.
While the FBI would not give any details of what, exactly, it is probing, Goatse Security, which discovered the breach, said it hasn’t been contacted by the authorities yet, WSJ.com reports.
Apple has been keeping quiet over the incident, but AT&T said the two had been in close contact during the aftermath.