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Mobile commerce

Apple Introduces 'iAd'

9:35 AM -- Apple's getting into the ad business, CEO Steve Jobs announced yesterday during Apple's iPhone 4.0 developer preview.

The company's new mobile advertising platform is called -- what else? -- iAd. According to Jobs, iAd will allow developers to build complex interactive ads into their apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

"We have a lot of free or reasonably priced apps... We like that, but our [developers] have to find ways to make money. So our devs are putting ads into apps, and for lack of a better way to say it, we think most of this kind of advertising sucks," Jobs said.

Apple will sell and host the ads, and developers will receive 60 percent of ad revenues.

If this challenge to Google weren't enough, Jobs also took a pointed swipe at the search giant's ad strategy:

    When you look at ads on a phone, it's not like a desktop. On a desktop, search is where it's at. But on mobile devices, that hasn't happened. Search is not happening on phones; people are using apps. And this is where the opportunity is to deliver advertising is. [sic]


A Google spokeswoman responded in The New York Times, saying Google's mobile service has grown fivefold over the past two years.

The Niemen Journalism Lab has suggested iAd could be good for the struggling news industry, writing that "a shift away from search and toward content could really help news companies."

In other news:

  • Twitter is working on a "significant redesign," according to Doug Bowman, the site's creative director. Bowman didn't elaborate, claiming he can't show much "without giving away the farm," but he did provide a tiny, equally unhelpful screen shot.

  • There have been four suicide attempts in the past month at Foxconn, the Chinese company that manufactures Apple's iPods and possibly the iPad. It's unclear so far whether the incidents were related. Last July, Foxconn employee Sun Danyong committed suicide after losing an iPhone prototype.

    — Erin Barker, Digital Content Reporter, Light Reading Cable

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