back to article How Apple is taming the ad biz. Just don't expect Google or Zuck to follow

Can the world's biggest tech company tame the Wild West of the digital ad industry as its data slurping becomes ever more intrusive? Since Facebook and Google are essentially colluding with behavioural data collection, and Microsoft has given up the fight for user privacy, few companies have Apple's means or incentive. But for …

  1. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    Interesting Steven "let's make it all look like Windows 3.0 running on EGA again" Sinofsky feels MS caved.

    Does make me more likely to buy another iOS device as my next phone though.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      I've always been on Android, but now the iPhone 6s is priced at where the Android upper-middle range was a couple of years back, at around £450. That's £250 less than the iPhone 8, and most of what the 8 offers over the 6s is tweaks to the camera, and sensor and silicon stuff that largely benefits AR. Oh, and likely a longer update support period of course.

      Still, I'll probably wait til next year and see what cunning stuff active IR 3D scanning stuff Qualcomm come up with (niche, but a niche I sometimes play in... would encourage me to dust off my RepRap 3D printer), or see how Google get on with their hardware efforts. Or see what the latest Chinese £200 special is like.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You're probably better off with a 7 (there will be lots of them sold by people who want an 8). It buys you an extra year on Apple's update cycle.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          But the 6s offers you a 3.5mm headphone jack.

    2. Chemical Bob Bronze badge

      Windows 3.0 running on EGA

      I'll bet my false teeth that you qualify for the Senior discount at Denny's...

      1. JohnBoyNC
        Meh

        Re: Windows 3.0 running on EGA

        @Chemical Bob: And? Your point? Just stay off my lawn, you young whippersnapper!

        1. Chemical Bob Bronze badge

          Re: Windows 3.0 running on EGA

          When I was your age we didn't have lawns, just liquid hot magma and dinosaur poop!

  2. Justin Case

    What about...

    Only allowing cookies from the page domain - that which is displayed in the browser address bar?

    I've probably said something extremely stupid there, haven't I.

    1. AegisPrime

      Re: What about...

      I was under the impression that most/all (desktop?) browsers supported this anyway - Vivaldi certainly does allowing you to block 3rd party cookies altogether. Maybe it's different for mobile browsers?

      I've been blocking 3rd party stuff for ages and it never seems to impact the usability of the sites I visit though I guess YMMV.

    2. Pseu Donyme

      Re: What about...

      Indeed. No third party cookies. In fact, no cookies other than session cookies. These should be the default settings of any browser (by law (with draconian punishment for violations (and something even worse for anything that could be construed as an attempt to circumvent (the letter or (especially) the intent of) the law))).

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: What about...

        You can configure most/all browsers to not accept third party cookies, but as that's not the default a small minority of people will do it.

        That was what Sinofsky was really unhappy about - Microsoft changed their default due to pressure from online advertisers. I'd guess probably about the time they decided they want to ape Google and give Windows 10 a default of max user data collection.

      2. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: What about...

        @Pseu Donyme

        While I've seldom seen so many nested parentheses in a comment, I thank you for closing them all appropriately. Unmatched braces are very annoying (especially to people with OCD.

        1. Pseu Donyme

          Re: What about...

          Thanks, I tried to be very careful with them; a joke of a sort (to a retired (C-)programmer sometimes struggling to balance his parentheses to the satisfaction of (g)cc, anyways) seemed to be emerging as I was writing my short missive, which seemed to ((((perhaps) almost) reasonably) legitimately) call ever more nested parentheses. [Per above I can confirm that unbalanced braces are jarring. :/ (Although I'm not sure if it is (undiagnosed) OCD or merely a result of decades of nagging by cc and her relatives; these may amount to the same thing (or close enough) in practice (?).)]

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Logical move for Apple

    Apple has no real revenue stream based on user data gathering and advertising, so for Apple to kick that industry in the shins to have an extra sales argument re. privacy makes perfect sense.

    That it pisses off sanctimonious Google is just a bonus.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Logical move for Apple

      As it said, Google is not really affected.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Logical move for Apple

        Bing actually has marketshare in the US. So it could be there are people there who don't visit Google on a daily basis. At which point their cookies will get deleted after a day too.

        Also, Apple control the way they use searching in the address bar. So they could not count that as a visit to Google for cookie purposes. Though I imagine if they did, Google might block the built-in browser search on iDevices.

        1. W Donelson

          Re: Logical move for Apple

          Google AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is just a SCAM to get around adblockers.

      2. Graham Cobb

        Re: Logical move for Apple

        As it said, Google is not really affected.

        That is only true if you visit Google at least once a day.

        Sure, most people do visit the search engine once per day, although not everyone searches for something every day - plenty of people spend whole days in Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram. if you miss a day does Google lose the info about what you were doing that day?

        More interestingly, some people have switched to another search engine. For example, I search using Startpage. I don't use Gmail so that means I almost never visit Google at all!

        So, does this mean that those trying to make big advertising less effective should push really hard for people to search using Startpage or DuckDuckGo? If a significant number of people using Safari did that, would that make a noticeable dent in Google's advertising capabilities?

  4. Kev99 Bronze badge

    You can also set your browser, like Firefox, to clear all cookies when it closes, periodically hit CTRL-SHIFT-DEL to wipe history, and regularly run an application like CCleaner, or Advanced Uninstaller.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Try the Self-Destructing Cookies add-on, which deletes all cookies belonging to a domain a set time after you close all the last tab or window. That way they can't be built up if you leave the browser open for days or weeks and sleep the computer.

    2. Martin Summers Silver badge

      "and regularly run an application like CCleaner"

      Erm. Got some bad news for you there my friend...

    3. TechBearMike

      On macOS, Cookie is also a very nice (paid) cookie management app, though it might be getting redundant used with Safari.

  5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Effects

    This might cause a rethink of the mantra of 'targeted advertising'. Maybe the advertisers will realize 'targeted advertising' is chimera.

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    apple doing something right for a change

    and so far not a 'walled garden' post in sight.

    It does seem that Apple do care about user data security. They are not perfect by any means but at least they are trying to do the right thing from a user POV.

    I wonder if it won't be long before certain sites start detecting Safari and put up a notice saying somthing like

    "In order to continue using this site please download a supported browser. This site will not work with versions of Safari used in IOS 11.0/MacOS 11.13.0 and later."

    Followed naturally by a link to IE or Edge {only joking}

    1. Chemical Bob Bronze badge
      Joke

      Re: apple doing something right for a change

      "Followed naturally by a link to IE"

      As long as it's IE6!

    2. TechBearMike

      Re: apple doing something right for a change

      I visit a number of websites that are still throwing up warning dialogs because I'm not using the ‘latest technology’ or “most secure browser” when accessed through Safari. The same dialog boxes advocate using Internet Explorer or Chrome. What the hell are they smoking?

  7. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

    The ad men abused the privilege of having a captive audience, we moaned and complained, blocked them. Now a huge company, whether you like Apple or not they have a knack of parting the public from their spondoolics, has decided it has nothing to lose by kicking the admen too in order to make it look like some sort of "freedom fighter". I'm happy with anything anyone does that puts the tracking and admen under control.

  8. cd

    The simple answer is ads like print ads used to be, albeit with a link. So one could go back to a Reg article from '15 and see ads that were bought then, still in place.

    I can't see the downside here for the advertiser or the publisher, both want a fair transaction and Google/Facebook are the moral equivalent of Enron, trying to interpolate and manipulate markets, ending up with most of the money and dissatisfied clients on both sides.

    So put up the article, sell ads for it that are embedded and don't wiggle around or move or jump in front, just sit there in a side column. The ads stay there, no paying for impressions, paying for placement. Worked for many years with print.

    Why can't the Reg lead the way here with a trial?

    1. Gary Bickford

      The classic problem for pre-internet advertisers ...

      The classic problem for pre-internet advertisers was, "I know I'm wasting my money on 1/2 of the advertising I buy. I just don't know which half." The Internet fixed that problem to a great extent, and made much of the Internet more akin to the entry of a department store, where just looking at men's ties quickly brought a tie sakesperson over to "help". Unfortunately while even thstbwas too far for mostbif yes, the vendors wanted, and took, even more of our privacy.

      When I leave a store (whether I bought something or not) I don't want the salesperson to follow me down the street and continue harassing me. And I don't want them to sell the information that i touched the running shoes on the way out of the store to the shoe store down the mall.

  9. Jon B

    Apple wants it's cut

    Looks like Apple is annoyed it is missing out on all the advertising dollars and laying the groundwork for getting it's fair share. Just like the App Store, soon will need to pay Apple a healthy chunk to be allowed to serve ads on iOS.

  10. Ian Joyner

    The real price?

    I think people are finally starting to realise the real cost of some of that hardware they buy – it is at the cost of their privacy. Still other electronics companies have very large markets apart from computing and smart phones and subsidise their phone business to compete (steal sales) from Apple.

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