iPhone

Apple is set to expand its advertising business, according to people familiar with its plans, the Financial Times has reported, as the company imposes new privacy rules on iPhones that are expected to cripple the targeted ads offered by its rivals, including Facebook. 

As part of the advertising expansion, Apple will add additional marketing slots in its user interface, via the “suggested apps” section in its App Store search page, being rolled out by the end of the month, according to the individuals cited by the Financial Times.

It is the first sign that the company is preparing to expand its advertising offerings, as its new privacy features are set to roll out next week, via the next major update to the iPhone operating system, iOS 14.5.

A key feature of this update is the so-called App Tracking Transparency, which gives users the opportunity to choose to “opt-in” to being tracked for online advertising purposes.

Companies that rely on online advertising, and Facebook, in particular, have said that the privacy change will reduce the profitability of targeted advertising and damage the businesses that use them.

At Facebook’s January earning’s call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the proposed move, saying: “Apple may say that they’re doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track their competitive interests”. 

The social media platform has waged a broad months-long campaign against Apple, including national newspapers, and by testing pop-ups within the Facebook app encouraging users to consent to its tracking.

Facebook’s targeted advertising services generate the company $86 billion (€71.3 billion) in annual revenue. 

Apple has said that as of 26th April, all apps submitted for rollout approval must be ready to support the new feature. 

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