Eric Peterson blogs about how the changes Apple recently made to their developer agreement prohibit iPhone developers from using third party analytics services to track the usage of their applications. I’m not sure I read the changes the same way, but I’m not a lawyer. Like Eric, I’m hoping that Apple clears things up.
However, judging by the way Apple keeps offering core application services such as geo-location, payments, and now advertising as iPhone APIs, I believe it’s only a matter of time before they offer up their own usage tracking/measurement/analytics service to developers.
If Apple wants to keep control of the Advertising opportunity that the iPhone/iPad platform creates, then the key will be to have tight control over how application usage data is collected and used for ad targeting/reporting.
Specifically, this means that Apple is going to need a capability to measure post advertising click ROI as well as a way to turn all of that iPhone/iPad usage data into behavioral targeting dimensions.
Since behavioral tracking/measurement is not one of their core competencies, I think Apple will likely follow in the footsteps of almost every previous major ad network and ultimately buy a web analytics platform. Let’s hope they consider backing open source web analytics as opposed to fueling the commercial Adobe/Google duopoly that dominates the web analytics space today.