Over the past few weeks app developers for Windows Phone that rely on Google’s AdMob to monetize their apps through advertising, have reported significant drops in revenue.
In a Google group for Mobile Ads SDK Developers, some developers started reporting on May 7th that as much as a 50% drop in revenue as fill rates dropped from 99% to 7%.
Another developer tweeted a few days later:
— Anh Nguyen (@anhngt) May 11, 2015
The number of these accounts has led some to theorize that this drop in revenue for Windows Phone developers may be intentional as the drops suspiciously began a few days after Microsoft’s Build conference. It was at this conference that Microsoft announced new SDK’s will be available to enable the porting of iOS and Android apps into Windows 10 Universal Apps.
This slightly suspicious timing led some to speculate that the drop in AdMob revenue for Windows Phone app developers could be the result of an intentional move by Google to kill off the rival mobile OS.
The mainly independent Windows Phone developer community primarily sustains itself on ad revenue to support the many free apps available on the Windows Phone store. Depriving that community of developers of a way to sustain their operations would certainly be a viable tactic to deal a strong blow to the rival OS’s already smaller offering of apps.
However, given the complexities of cross platform mobile Ad networks and how fast software can change, it is hard to say these reported conspiracy theories are any more than speculation. Such a bold move would also probably be disadvantageous for Google as it would drive developers to other mobile ad platforms, including Microsoft’s own pubCenter. As ad revenue is the primary source of income for Google, they most likely would not want to do anything that diminishes customers of part of their ad business.
In a response to Business Insider’s coverage of the story Google issued the same statement that Google tweeted yesterday, that they investigating and working to fix the issue.
Further reading: Google, Microsoft, Windows Phone
We’re aware of fill rate issues for Windows Phone in AdMob. We’re actively investigating and working to fix this, more details soon.
— Google AdMob (@admob) May 18, 2015