So Apple has a new advertising platform for iPhones.
Then, today, the head of AdMob made it clear that he thinks that what Apple is doing sucks (my words).
There are, roughly, 1.21 jigawatts of dollars at stake.
And I don’t care. Not even a teensy, tiny bit.
And here’s why.
Apple is being a giant baby.
So Apple decided to make a product to force-feed advertising down our throats. Awesome. Great. Way to go Apple.
But they don’t want Google to be able to use their advertising product on the iPhone (even though Google was there first), so they change their terms of service to intentionally keep Google out.
Just to be crystal, freaking clear here: Apple is banning third party developers from even attempting to use the iPhone platform with their own software.
This would be like Microsoft banning any company from even making a web browser for Windows. If that happened the entire world would erupt into a frenzy, light the torches, and head for Redmond demanding blood.
What’s the matter? Apple doesn’t think they can make an advertising service that can compete with AdMob? So they pull a total jerk move and just state that “Google can’t play in our sandbox anymore!”. It’s like a toddler throwing a tantrum.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at this point. This sort of behavior is pretty much expected from Apple these days. Sad though. We’ve come a long way from the early Apple. The days when their first machines actually shipped with the schematics of the hardware. They’ve gone from empowering people, and pushing things forward… to locking down their hardware and software and attempting to legally ban people from even using them. Sad, sad days.
I should clarify that statement.
Advertising has always, and will always be around. No doubt about that.
And there is nothing inherently wrong with the simple act of “letting people know that you make something, and they can buy it from you”. In fact, that is a necessity.
But things are getting out of hand.
Lets look at Television for a second.
Back in the 1960′s, an hour long TV show would have about 9 minutes of advertising (including in-show ads, “product placement” and ads between shows).
Flash forward to today and that same, hour long, TV show will typically have about 18 minutes of dedicated, standalone, advertising (not including product placements). (This gets way, way worse for those that watch much Reality TV shows.)
The net result is that the simple act of looking at advertisements has become one of the most common and time intensive things we do each day.
And that is, without a doubt, terrible.
Advertising on mobile devices sucks.
With all that in mind, why on this green earth of ours, would we want to fill every single gadget and device we own with yet more ads?
Go to make a phone call or look up an address? Boom. Ads.
Go to search for posts on a social network for a particular type of car? Ka-blamo. Ads.
This is getting way, way out of hand.
I don’t care how “impressive” the advertising platform is from a technical standpoint. I don’t care if I can look at an advertisement for a car, on my phone, that lets me rotate the car with my finger. If it uses up even one quarter inch of a 3 inch screen… that’s too much.
And, yes, I know developers need to earn a living. That is a topic I tend to talk quite a lot about. And if including embedded advertisements within mobile applications is a way to do that… I have a hard time poo-poo-ing the idea.
But, just the same, it is a bad idea. A very, very bad idea.
How would you have felt if, in 1984, you turned on your shiny new Macintosh 128k only to be presented with “Brought to you by Bank of America” with a small, interactive display taking up half the screen about why that company is great.
Or how about if you turned on your trusty PC. Windows 95 boots up. Everything is normal. Then you go to launch Notepad and the top half of the Notepad window is taken up by a display for Paula Abdul’s latest album. And, when you accidentally mouse over that portion of the window, small clips of the songs start playing and the advertisement expands to take up your whole monitor.
Sounds awesome? Because that is exactly what is happening right now on some of these mobile devices (especially the iPhone).
So I just don’t care.
If Apple wants to act like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Fine.
If they want to turn mobile devices into something more about turning us into better, more rabid, consumers of advertisements… and less about bringing on a new era of portable computing power and freedom… Fine.
They are taking what could be an amazing step in computing history and turning it into something that sucks.
And that sucks a lot.
Luckily, for us, there are companies out there producing mobile devices that are not bogged down with ads. And those are the companies that we should be supporting.