Apple is giving up on its iAd program. The company has announced it will shutter the service at the end of June, and is no longer accepting new entries.
The iAd program was essentially Apple’s gateway for advertisers to access mobile apps. It was originally intended as a means of helping app developers to monetize their mobile apps, while allowing Apple to retain some control over how advertisers would reach their audiences and what kind of audience information could be retrieved. Ultimately, though, it seems to have failed on two important fronts: Advertisers were frustrated that they weren’t getting enough access to user data, and, perhaps more importantly, iAd revenues were not strong; last year Apple CEO Tim Cook said the service only took 5.1 percent of the mobile ad market that year, and called it a “very small” component of the company’s overall business.
AppleInsider suggests that Apple’s protection of user privacy contributed to advertisers’ inability to monetize what could be a lucrative market, and if that is the case it is no surprise to see Apple shutting down the service at a time when it seems to be taking an even harder line on privacy protection. While The Verge reports that Apple may be considering a different mobile ad system that will remove Apple as a gatekeeper and allow advertisers to more fully monetize their mobile app ads by not having to pay a cut to the company, its stance on user privacy could end up ruling out such an approach, leaving the heavy advertising and data mining to rival Google.