I recently read the article in BusinessWeek entitled Why They Can’t Be Friends with Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt on the cover. Sadly Bill Gates was left off the cover and for the most part is an afterthought when it comes to the web and mobile space. (That “Bing thing” may be worth talking about eventually, with its business focus vs academic focus, but I’ll save that for later.) The point of the article and subsequent readings is that Google has encroached on Apple’s territory, namely Android and Nexus One, and Jobs is pissed. Another reason Jobs is less than happy is the AdMob acquisition. Apple was set to buy AdMob and Google jumped in line ahead of them and came up the winner. Armed with a ton of Apple’s iPhone data form the acquisition, Google then set about refining Android. (The only reason Android exists is to serve mobile ads; don’t kid yourself.) So Steve then bought Quattro. Quattro, in theory very good at personalizing advertising but Apple just announced that they are not going to allow app developers to utilize location as a primary driver for serving ads. Let me say that again in case you missed it. Apple is not going to allow app developers to utilize location to serve up ads as a primary method of monetizing. They’ll be allowed to use location based awareness to drive a better experience but not to serve ads.
Because they’re going to do it. Apple is getting ready to serve up ads based on where you are, who you are and what you’re doing. The amount of information that traditional cell carriers have on your comings and goings is amazing. Looking at the data is like looking at several thousand migration patterns. Because of AdMob’s serving ads for iPhone apps, they have the same information AND they need to level the playing field with respect to Google serving search based ads on the mobile devices. What I liked most about the BusinessWeek article is when Apple said that if you have to search to receive an ad; you’ve already failed.
I’ve blogged about advertisers partnering with consumers to provide compelling advertising: aka, stuff you actually want. (You give them all of your information sans name/social and I promise not to deliver ads that you don’t want.) One obvious road block is that most people don’t trust companies. One company that people do trust is Apple. In fact they love them. With the release of the iPad, Apple is perfectly positioned to deliver on the promise of advertising that works and will be able to one-up Google by partnering with their users. (I mention the iPad as a excellent mechanism for ad delivery, not a mobile device.) If Apple can circumvent search as the primary mechanism for serving ads, they will own the space. “But what about Android users?” you ask. To which I reply, “Sssshhhhhhhh. Ever heard of Linux? Only the technically minded with buy that phone and they’re a numerical minority.”
Steve – Give me a call if you need help with this.
Thank you: Michael