FORTUNE -- Unveiled by Steve Jobs in June 2010 with a promise of new generation of low-cost mobile ads that not only didn't "suck" but would have users coming back for more, the iAd platform was supposed to be Apple's (AAPL) answer to Google's (GOOG) AdMob.
But advertisers didn't exactly fall over themselves to fork over the minimum $1 million Apple required for the privilege of creating what are essentially miniature motion pictures on the screens of iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.
So Apple made some concessions. It raised the developers' share of the ad revenue from 60% to 70%. It lowered the minimum ad buy to $500,000 (Feb. 2011), $300,000 (July 2011) and finally $100,000 (Feb. 2012).
But Apple's sales calls on Madison Avenue are still a "tough slog," according to Kate Kaye's piece in this week's Advertising Age. Reason: The company's refusal, in her words, "to cough up enough of the consumer data that attracts advertisers to them in the first place."
Like Google and Amazon (AMZN), Apple sits on what Kaye describes as "incredible troves of information about what consumers actually buy and like, as well as who they are and where they live."
But Apple is reluctant to share the personal data collected from its 600 million iTunes accounts, making it, according to one ad exec, "the best-looking girl at the party, forced to wear a bag over her head."
There's also diffidence in Apple's ad sales pitches, says GroupM's Cary Tilds, perhaps reflecting the fact that U.S. advertising generates only 0.15% of the company's annual revenue.
"It's not their main focus," she says, "to tell everyone in the world how amazing advertising in iAd is."
This AdMob vet wants to bridge the divide between desktop and mobile advertising. If she succeeds, even Google could find itself at a disadvantage.
FORTUNE -- Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan never planned to go into advertising, much less run a startup. But when the 37-year-old Stanford graduate, with a Ph.D. in Information Theory, met AdMob founder Omar Hamoui, she turned her back on Wall Street and joined AdMob as a research scientist in MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - May 21, 2013 7:58 AM ET
An eye-opening comparison of Android's income statement with Apple's
FORTUNE -- As part of an extended look at what he calls Google's (GOOG) "Android economics," Asymco's Horace Dediu on Monday published what may be the first independent estimate of the company's Android income statement.
As the chart at right shows, Android generates revenue for Google through three kinds of ad sales (Google's Search, AdSense and AdMob). After costs and revenue sharing are MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 15, 2012 9:10 AM ET
Taking another crack at the $1.23 billion market for ads on tablets and mobile phones
According to several sources, Apple has hired Adobe vice president Todd Teresi to head its iAd mobile advertising service, a position that has been vacant since last summer.
iAd was one of those projects Steve Jobs launched with great fanfare but which hasn't quite panned out -- at least not yet.
He pitched it in April 2010 as MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 4, 2012 6:31 PM ET
And 43% spend more time on their tablet computer than on their laptop or desktop PC
This chart is from a survey of more than 1,400 tablet computer users conducted by AdMob, the online advertising company that Google (GOOG) snatched away from Apple (AAPL) in 2009. I missed the report when it was released last week. The extent to which tablets have cut into PC use is surprising.
"I think this trend MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 12, 2011 6:39 PM ET
Keeping it all in the Google ad family...
Today, Google (GOOG) is sending some of its Admob mobile app developers some good news. The search giant will start placing Adsense ads inside of apps that use Google's Admob advertising. That means fill rate will skyrocket toward 100% and developers will get paid much more, across the board.
The move may also pull some of Apple's (AAPL) iAds user-developers away, especially those who MORESeth Weintraub - Mar 11, 2011 3:57 PM ET
Big media companies are grousing about Apple's 30% app tax. OnSwipe wants to convince readers—and publishers—there's another, better way.
By Chadwick Matlin, contributor
Last week, after a year of luring big media organizations onto the iPad, Apple sent out a press release, but they would have done just as well sending copies of the old board game Mouse Trap. The release said that publishers, like all app developers, would have to pay what MOREFeb 25, 2011 10:33 AM ET
Wedbush Morgan analyst Lou Kerner raised his rating on Google to Outperform from Neutral
Google's (GOOG) efforts in Mobile and OS/Browser markets will start to pay off, according to Wedbush Morgan analyst Lou Kerner.
In a research note today, Kerner wrote:
We are raising our rating and price target on Google based on our belief that mobile and social secular trends are accelerating the growth of time spent online and the growth of global MORESeth Weintraub - Dec 14, 2010 12:35 PM ET
Mobile ads are going to be a big business.
Yesterday, ooVoo CEO Philippe Schwartz came into the Fortune offices to demonstrate his company's excellent new mobile video conferencing software (more on that next week) on Android and soon on iOS.
On the desktop, ooVoo has two revenue models. One is a subscription service, mostly sold to businesses who want to do multiple-window video conferencing without advertising. On the consumer side, they run Google MORESeth Weintraub - Dec 9, 2010 2:19 PM ET
The terms of Apple's iOS 4 developer license prohibit data collection from competitors.
At the MobileBeat 2010 conference today, Google's Admob division head Omar Hamoui told reporters that Apple hadn't yet started blocking Admob on its iOS devices.
Apple (AAPL), last month changed the terms of its iOS developer license to prohibit mobile advertising networks owned by competitors (and who rhyme with Noogle) to collect analytics data on their users for the purposes of MORESeth Weintraub - Jul 13, 2010 6:08 PM ET
|NJ agrees to ban Tesla direct sales|
|Five predictions for the World Wide Web that were way, way, way off|
|The Deep Web you don't know about|
|Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac stock hit by proposal to close them|
|West prepares sanctions against Russia over Ukraine|