Apple and iPhone ad report raise concerns about privacy and hypocrisy

Curious about the company’s marketing practices, I opened the iPhone’s default Stocks app, one of the few places where Apple currently places ads. Sure enough, I came across an ad for a jewelry company that I had recently researched and visited (sorry fiancee, I was looking for my wedding ring). While I’m not sure, I suspect the targeted ad stems from my use of the Apple Maps app for directions to the jeweler’s store. Gurman notes that the advertisements served by Apple are based on data collected from its other services and your Apple account.

Apple has long promoted the iPhone as a privacy haven, a place where users can avoid the constant barrage of digital surveillance employed by Facebook, Google and countless other advertising-focused companies. Last year, Apple made it much harder for developers to track user activity across apps on iPhone, iPad and iMac, a change that has shaken up the online advertising landscape.

Still, Gurman’s reporting on Sunday suggested that Apple is aiming to more than double its $4 billion in annual digital ad sales, a lawsuit that carries a whiff of hypocrisy and could antagonize federal lawmakers further.

Apple hasn’t announced any specific plans for a ramp-up in ads, but Gurman offers a compelling case for how the company could meet its revenue goals. He envisioned Apple including ads in more of its native OS apps, such as Maps, Books, and Podcasts (these are already in the App Store, News app, and Stocks app). He also predicted that Apple could integrate search ads into its Maps app, allowing marketers to pay to appear and rank higher in search results. (Apple already uses search ads in the App Store.)

Gurman expects Apple to stop placing ads in third-party apps, which are developed by other organizations and individuals. There is also no suggestion that Apple will track user activity in third-party apps for the purpose of serving ads in its native apps.

While both of these concessions would signal some restraint on Apple’s part, any venture deeper into the digital advertising space carries risks for the world’s most valuable company.

At the most basic level, Apple could undermine its privacy-focused reputation, leading to a loss of smartphone, tablet and personal computer customers. However, any drop in sales would likely be minimal, due to Apple’s incredible brand loyalty and the hassle of switching to another operating system. I certainly don’t give up my iPhone for an annoying jewelry ad.

The biggest threat, however, comes from the potential legislative reaction to Apple’s continued capitalization on its monopoly operating system.

As it stands, many federal lawmakers are already fed up with Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and other Big Tech giants using their dominant online platforms to intimidate small businesses.

To wit, a Senate-signed antitrust bill that would water down the power of tech giants, largely by banning companies from favoring their own products and services on their platforms, has gained momentum in recent months. As the legislation, known as the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, was eventually shelved amid a rush for higher-priority bills and last-minute resistance from lawmakers, the sentiment does not hold. not fading any time soon.

By moving toward more ads on its native apps, Apple would be engaging in precisely the kind of activity that has irked Congress.

Thanks to changes to app tracking privacy last year, Apple has cost other companies billions of dollars in ad revenue. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, predicted this year’s losses from Apple shares could approach $10 billion.

If Gurman’s reports come to fruition – which they do far more often than not – then Apple would turn around and rake in billions from advertising in its already mighty operating system. Although Apple will likely counter that it’s simply leveraging the strength of its in-house products, rather than profiting from user activity on third-party apps, that argument is unlikely to win over a growing chorus of antitrust advocates. (Surely, Mark Zuckerberg would also have a choice word or two.)

Looking for greater advertising wealth, Apple officials might conclude that the billions in additional revenue will easily overcome any risk in the effort. Apple also wouldn’t be the first company to bank on congressional dithering over legislation that could threaten its business model.

Either way, Apple’s reported advertising aspirations mark another departure from the company’s roots and a telling display of its priorities. The next time Tim Cook and company talk about your privacy, remember that they might also have their own interests in mind.

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Jacob Charpentier

NEW

An algo alarm. Chinese government officials have secure algorithm information used by some of the nation’s biggest tech companies, a first such step taken by the autocratic regime, Bloomberg reported on Monday. Chinese regulators have released a list of 30 algorithms used by the e-commerce giant Ali Babaparent TikTok ByteDanceand tech conglomerate Tencentamong others, although it is unclear whether government officials have obtained the source code for each algorithm. The New York Times reported separately on Sunday that US lawmakers are increasingly concerned on the national security implications of the Chinese government’s potential access to TikTok data on US users.

Say no to BitGo. Cryptocurrency Financial Services Company Digital Galaxy is pull out of $1.2 billion acquisition of digital asset custody company BitGo, citing the company’s failure to produce audited financial statements, CoinDesk reported. The announcement comes 15 months after Galaxy Digital, led by a high profile crypto bull Michael Novogratz, announced the acquisition amid a surge in cryptocurrency values. BitGo, which was due to provide its 2021 financials by the end of July, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CoinDesk.

On the rise. bitcoin values briefly exceeded $25,000 Sunday night marked the first time the cryptocurrency hit the benchmark since mid-June, CNBC reported. The rally followed a string of positive news on the global economy and falling inflation rates in the United States, both of which have weighed on prices in recent months. Bitcoin price slid Monday morning back to around $24,100.

Stick to the plan. game company Unit Software said on Monday that he had rejected a $17.6 billion takeover bid made last week by a mobile marketing company AppLovin, reported Reuters. Unity Software officials said the acquisition offer was not in the best interests of shareholders and fell short of the company’s deal to acquire rival AppLovin. ironSource. Unity Software agreed in mid-July to buy ironSource in an all-stock deal valued at approximately $4.4 billion.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Card flap on tap. A mapping kerfuffle holds back a centerpiece of last year’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. Federal officials haven’t completed the lengthy process of mapping areas across the United States that need better high-speed internet access, delaying the distribution of $42.5 billion to fix the problem, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The Federal Communications Commission isn’t expected to complete the mapping effort until 2023, which means internet service providers like AT&T, Comcastand Verizon will continue to wait for funding that could improve their results. The United States has historically relied on inaccurate broadband maps, which has led to service delivery issues across the country.

From article:

Lawmakers demanded new maps after faulty data in past grant programs caused construction projects across the country to bypass many Americans they were meant to serve. Officials warn, however, that getting the mapping right will take time.

“We understand the urgency of getting broadband to everyone quickly,” said Alan Davidson, head of the Commerce Department’s office responsible for allocating broadband funding. “We also know we have a chance and we want to make sure we do it right.”

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BEFORE YOU LEAVE

What a hack. Is “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli up to his old tricks? The crypto universe questioned the value of Martin Shkreli Inu, an eponymous cryptocurrency linked to the criminal founder of startup Web3, over the weekend. Dope, plunged 90% following a huge sell-off of the token of a wallet probably belonging to the infamous entrepreneur. Shkreli, best known for jacking up the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill and being convicted of securities fraud in a separate case, appeared to claim in a message to Bloomberg that the pirates dumped 160 billion Martin Shkreli Inu valued at around $2 million. Skeptics of Shkreli, however, wondered if the former “most hated man in America” was giving up on his creation.

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