The move, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, may seem strange in light of macro events like Facebook’s data scandal and the General Data Protection Regulation, which just landed in Europe, not to mention Apple’s own ill-starred history with ad tech.
In late March, Apple quietly released SKAdNetwork, an API for iOS 11.3 that allows ad networks or advertisers to directly attribute installs from the App Store without relying on an attribution vendor.
Internet advertising firms are losing hundreds of millions of dollars following the introduction of a new privacy feature from Apple that prevents users from being tracked around the web.
Advertising technology firm Criteo, one of the largest in the industry, says that the Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature for Safari, which holds 15% of the global browser market, is likely to cut its 2018 revenue by more than a fifth compared to projections made before ITP was announced.
With annual revenue in 2016 topping $730m, the overall cost of the privacy feature on just one company is likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
While Apple’s anti-tracking moves may hit Criteo the hardest, other vendors like attribution companies and data platforms that also rely on ad targeting for portions of their business are caught in the crossfire of Apple’s customer privacy campaign.
Unlike tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon that have big ad businesses, Apple makes its money by selling devices, not advertising.
The company’s ambivalence about advertising was on full display when Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized ad-supported businesses in 2014 and when Apple shut down its mobile ad platform iAd last year