Apple today confirmed it's giving up on making money in the mobile advertising business, and it will shut down the app network for its six-year-old iAd program on June 30th. The announcement, posted on Apple's developer website, comes just a few days after BuzzFeed News reported Apple's plans to disband the division's sales team due to poor adoption and minuscule revenue share. Apple is now no longer accepting new apps into the program, but current partners can continue existing campaigns and earn ad revenue up until the shutdown date. New campaigns can also be created using the iAd Workbench tool.
Apple hasn't disclosed its future plans for mobile advertising, but the company is leaving open the possibility iAd will exist in some form down the line. A recent Wall Street Journal interview with Apple executive Eddie Cue, as well as BuzzFeed's report this week, indicate the company may transition the program to an automated self-service platform. That way ad sellers and publishers will no longer use Apple as an intermediary — and hand over a 30 percent cut as a result — and instead interact directly and take 100 percent of the revenue. Apple did not disclose any future plans for the program in its statement, but told developers it would keep them updated.
CEO Tim Cook said iAd was a "very small" part of Apple's business
The shutdown doesn't come as a surprise. CEO Tim Cook referred to iAd in 2014 as a "very small" part of Apple's business in a privacy statement, and the program captured only 5.1 percent revenue share of the mobile display advertising business last year, according to EMarketer.