Remember the day Apple robbed the mob's bank?

"Apple has brazenly, in broad daylight, stormed into the Bank of Facebook, looted its most precious resource... and fled the scene."

From Eric Benjamin Seufert's "Apple robbed the mob's bank, part 3" posted Monday on Mobile Dev Memo:

Last week, Apple announced that it will add two new advertising placements to the App Store: a featured placement on the App Store’s Today page, which is the first content visible when the App Store is opened, and a sponsored placement on individual App Store product pages in a new content section labeled with “You Might Also Like.” Both of these placements will be clearly marked as ads, and both will be exclusively serviced by Apple’s own Apple Search Ads platform.

Back in May 2021, one month after Apple rolled out its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) privacy framework through iOS 14.5, Apple similarly introduced a new advertising placement in search results. I characterized this commercial maneuver in the wake of ATT as akin to robbing the mob: Apple handicapped the performance of app advertising on display networks and then immediately expanded its own advertising business through proprietary ownership of the App Store and privileged access to user engagement and monetization data (advantages which I unpack here). From Apple robbed the mob’s bank:

With ATT, Apple has robbed the mob’s bank. In bolstering its ads business while severely handicapping other advertising platforms — but especially Facebook — with the introduction of a privacy policy that effectively breaks the mechanic that those platforms use to target ads, Apple has taken money from a party that is so unsympathetic that it can’t appeal to a greater authority for redress. Apple has brazenly, in broad daylight, stormed into the Bank of Facebook, looted its most precious resource, and, camouflaged under the noble cause of giving privacy controls to the consumer, fled the scene.

My take: Harsh, but not far off the mark. Spoken like a someone who has made money tracking apps. Like Angry Birds, for example.


  1. Rick Povich said:
    A pox on Facebook’s house

    August 6, 2022
  2. Rodney Avilla said:
    Does this guy not have any close friends in his inner circle that would let him know that his views are so distorted when he interprets events assuming the world evolves around himself? I assume someday he’ll say to himself when reminded of this ‘whining’, did I really say that out loud?

    August 7, 2022
  3. Michael Goldfeder said:
    It must be frustrating as an outsider looking in on a very well treated group of consumers being well cared for inside the proverbial “walled garden.” It’s not Stockholm Syndrome or some other DSMV-5 personality disorder.

    Just consumer’s who appreciate and value the peace of mind Apple brings to their lives by protecting their privacy and security at all costs.

    August 7, 2022
  4. Bart Yee said:
    And you know what, Apple also gives me the option of turning off personalized ads for News, App Store, and Stocks apps, and sharing my personal info with advertisers via Apple. Apple doesn’t force me into anything but gives me a clear choice and gives clear instructions on how to make that choice.

    August 7, 2022
  5. Fred Stein said:
    Seufert takes a popular, but false, narrative and adds his spin. Digital advertising is on the rise just not at FB. FB is in decline. Long before ATT, younger people tired of using it.

    Sadly this approach, “repeat and add spin to false narratives” defines much of media these days.

    August 7, 2022
  6. Mark Visnic said:
    “Sadly this approach, “repeat and add spin to false narratives” defines much of media these days.”

    Unfortunately, no truer words have been said here, including in financial media, where it is no less purposeful in my view. In financial media, the narratives are both false and designed to inspire fear and incite emotion.

    August 7, 2022
    • Fred Stein said:
      Agree re financial media and fear mongering, especially w.r.t. our beloved Apple.

      The financial media also push one pernicious false narrative to naive readers, mainly that they can predict and hence help the readers make money from a sound bite, a tweet, etc.

      August 7, 2022
  7. David Emery said:
    The hashtag I’d apply to this article would probably be unacceptable to the site software, if not to PED himself. #b******t Although I always though the actual value of bovine fertilizer is under-estimated, when it’s compared to stuff like this.

    August 7, 2022
    • David Emery said:
      an internet search with the words ‘the’ ‘plan’ and ‘s**t’ (appropriate substitution) will yield the narrative of how ‘s**t’ transmigrates to ‘powerful fertilizer’…

      August 7, 2022

Leave a Reply