Why Apple is leaving a pile of ad money on the table

From Bloomberg’s Why Apple and Microsoft are healthier than Facebook:

“Apple collects more information about its customers than Facebook because it offers more products and services,” writes Leonid Bershidsky in an opinion piece posted Friday on Bloomberg News:

Cook has been wary of monetizing Apple’s user base, but he won’t be CEO forever. And people do change their mind, especially when it comes to picking up money that’s there for the taking…

The only real guarantee that companies won’t go overboard in invading customers’ privacy is that they have large revenue streams which make it an unnecessary risk. Apple is reliable in this regard: It’s a hardware company that also sells content and software on commission and on a subscription basis. Microsoft, with its cloud, software licensing and subscription businesses, is even less likely to go rogue in data collection because it no longer has a mobile platform to speak of.

Monetization through ads was the only relatively easy choice for companies not offering any products or services that people wanted to buy. That revenue stream, however, is not as easy to hold on to as those coming directly from customers. Those of us who remember the fat days of ad-financed media know that better than anyone. The tech firms that fell back on ads will need to offer value to customers, not advertisers, as the best “legacy” media companies have learned to do.

My take: Ah yes, the good old days of ad-financed media. As a recovering print journalist, I remember them well.

See also: Tim Cook: There oughta be a law against Facebook’s business model

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