Is Apple to launch 'iAd' mobile ad platform?

Apple plans to unveil a new mobile advertising platform dubbed 'iAd' early next month, built around Quattro, a mobile advertising developer acquired by Apple in January, according to reports.

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Apple plans to unveil a new mobile advertising platform dubbed 'iAd' early next month, built around Quattro, a mobile advertising developer acquired by Apple in January, according to reports on Media Post, a website providing media, marketing and advertising news

"The new ad platform, which will be officially unveiled to Madison Avenue on 7 April, has been described as 'revolutionary' and 'our next big thing' by Apple chief Steve Jobs, according to executives familiar with the plan," Media Post reports.

The website claims 'iAd' is likely to have been built on top of Quattro, a mobile advertising developer acquired by Apple in January 2010 for almost $300 million.

Apple iPhone

The January announcement came after Google confirmed plans in November 2009 to buy AdMob, another mobile ad provider for $750 million.

In recent months, the rivalry between Apple and Google has increased dramatically, with Apple CEO Steve Jobs reportedly telling employees at a private meeting in February that Google wanted to "kill" the iPhone. Jobs also reportedly called Google's "don't be evil" motto "a load of crap" at the rare Town Hall style get-together for employees at Apple HQ, where the CEO also hit out at Adobe.

"We did not enter the search business, Jobs said. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them, he says," Wired magazine quoted Jobs as saying at the time.

Both Quattro and AdMob focus on in-application and other types of mobile ads, which are displayed on smartphones such as Apple's iPhone or those that run Google's Android operating system.

"We have built our business by enabling advertisers to reach the right consumers across the mobile web and in applications," Andy Miller, Vice President, Mobile Advertising at Apple and former Quattro Chief Executive wrote in January. "We remain focused on delivering more engaging, relevant and useful ads to mobile devices, and improving the measurement and execution of digital campaigns."

Media Post speculates Apple will offer a hypertargeting capability if and when they introduce the 'iAd' technology, that would enable advertisers to target ads to consumers based on their geographic proximity, sparking the new location-specific advertising.

The website adds Google already holds a patent for systems that serve ads dynamically based on a user's location, a patent which could further the apparent war between the two should Apple launch a similar service next month.

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