Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 12:01 pm.
Blame Steve Jobs — not Andy Miller — for Apple’s iAd failure
Apple’s iAd boss Andy Miller is leaving the company for a venture capital firm, Kara Swisher reports for All Things D.
This sounds like a good move for Miller.
While Apple’s iAd made a big splash, and was technically impressive, everything I’ve seen suggests that Apple and Steve Jobs have no interest in becoming an advertising or media company.
By demanding total control, with rigid pricing and rules, Apple just hasn’t fit in to the advertising world, which stills runs on relationships and flexibility.
And my hunch is that these policies weren’t devised by Andy Miller, but by his boss Steve Jobs, the man who snubbed the iAd and went out of his way to slam advertising during his recent Apple keynote:
While discussing Apple’s free, new iCloud email service, he took an apparent jab at Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and the others, which stuff ads in their free email services.
“No ads,” he boasted. ”We build products that we want for ourselves, too, and we just don’t want ads.”
Apple is looking for a replacement for Andy Miller, Swisher reports. And if Apple can figure out how to be a good advertising company, it could be helpful, especially if it can tap into huge TV ad budgets on products like the iPad and Apple TV.
But as I noted last month, Apple’s best (and ultimate) move may be to get out of the ad sales business, and open up the iAd format for everyone.
Perhaps the best move Apple could make would be to open up the iAd format for everyone to use and sell: Agencies, rival ad networks, publishers — heck, even Google. Apple could try to collect an ad serving fee, or it could go completely hands-off.
This sounds like a very un-Apple-like idea. But iAds are not a core business for Apple, so eventually, if they’re not doing well, they’re going to get scrapped anyway. And if iAds — the creative format and the technology — are actually any good, they’ll still end up making more money for iOS app developers, which was supposed to be the whole point.
Related: Apple’s iAd is starting to crumble