Apple's Views On Advertising And Monetization Are Dictating Events Both Past and Present

What with Apple's tirade with Facebook over the former's iOS 14 features, and the Epic Games lawsuit issued against it, this might just be a good time to take a look at advertisements. Specifically, Apple's attitude towards them and how it's changed pertaining to their use in the App Store.

Before discussing Apple's viewpoints, however, some background might be of use. Let us begin with its rocky relationship with Facebook over the iOS 14's Tracking and Transparency features. In 2020, Apple announced that due to these features, developers on the App Store would no longer be allowed to skim any and all sort of personal information from users without their explicit consent. This would come as a huge blow to targeted advertisements, which rely on harvesting a user's browser history and preferences in order to deliver content.

Naturally, with a company such as Facebook highly relying on third party advertising agencies for its revenue, there was bound to be opposition. But no matter how much the social network threatened and raved, Apple strictly adhered to its regulations, which are now fully implemented across all iOS software devices. This gives us insight on Apple's outlook towards advertising, especially the sort that comes at a personal cost to users.

The Epic Games lawsuit against Apple, however, is of a different mold. It definitely portrays a more opportunistic side of the tech company's workings. Epic's highly popular game Fortnite was taken off the App Store after the company attempted to challenge Apple's 30% revenue cut. Users were allowed a 20% discount on in-game currency if they downloaded the application directly off the Epic Games' official store. The discount was not extended to the App Store. While this could certainly be considered as a low blow, the move itself is fair and certainly not illegal. Apple's reaction, however, proved to be disproportionate. Fortnite was swiftly removed from the platform, after which the company's legal turmoil began.

With that latter case, a bunch of Apple's official emails and memos were leaked to the public in the form of information requested by Epic's legal team. A specific email, sent by Eric Friedman of Apple's Risk Unit finally sheds some light on this article's main theme: the company's attitude towards ads. We've established Apple as being non-predatory towards its userbase, while certainly still maintaining capitalistic tendencies. The email sort of further reinforces both ideals.

It discusses that, owing to public comments made by CEO Tim Cook, monetizing users via ads would prove to be problematic. The email also delves into popularity being a subjectivley ineffective method of ranking products on the App Store. Ultimately, between some higher-ups clearly wanting money while others wanting to maintain a sense of sanctity, a compromise was achieved. Apple's Search Ads came out a year after this email. It served to popularize applications on the App Store, but would do so only if the applications themselves would meet a certain criteria of quality.

Read next: Internal emails of Apple shows that the company had a feud with Facebook over App Store rules as far back as 2011 when Steve Jobs was the CEO of the company
Previous Post Next Post