Peter Kafka

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Steve Jobs Promises Developers That Apple’s iAds Won’t “Suck” and Will Make Them Money

Hate the idea of seeing ads pop up while you surf the Web from your phone?

So does Steve Jobs. That’s why Apple is focusing its new ad platform solely on its burgeoning app ecosystem. As I reported Tuesday, Apple (AAPL) is using its Quattro acquisition to launch its “iAd” (really!) ad network, aimed at the developers who have built 185,000 apps to date for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

And that’s the real goal of the ad network launch: To keep those developers happy. At the “sneak preview” Apple offered developers today, Jobs talked about the huge financial opportunity available via “in-app” ads: “One billion impressions per day!”

But just like revenue from the music, video and apps Apple already sells, revenue from iAds will be more relevant to the people who make the stuff than to Apple itself. In this case, developers will keep 60 percent of all proceeds from the ads Apple sells and distributes.

Apple is still primarily in the device business, and the more developers Apple has working on his devices, the more attractive those devices are.

Just to make this explicit, here’s Jobs during the Q&A after his event today: “This is not a get-rich-quick scheme for Apple. This is to help our developers survive.”

At the same time, Apple is pushing Quattro away from the established mobile ad business. The company is getting out of the business of producing mobile sites for its partners. Apple has told Web publishers that it will stop running their mobile sites by the end of April–though it will still deliver ads to mobile sites that want their stuff.

But why would they? Jobs has already declared that mobile ads “suck.” Translation: All yours, Google (GOOG).


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald