Two mini-scoops in this Saturday @FT Big Read:

@Tencent has its own “an internal adaptation” to #CAID, the IDFA-workaround out of China, called QAID.

@glumobile got acquired b/c of IDFA/ATT implications.

A *thread* to expand on story here.
Obtained documents from Tencent explaining how CAID and QAID work. The reason for its own IDFA solution, per someone familiar, is WeChat is big enough to do this on its own -- 1.2bn users. It doesn't need the China Ad Association.
It's taken me a while to understand this but @Facebook is unlikely to be hurt by Apple's move. Yes, they need to rebuild their ad infrastructure b/c attribution becomes difficult, but 1st-party data now becomes paramount. Facebook has 2.7bn users. They will thrive.
That's why @Google's reaction was to shrug. It has a massive trove of data on its users. Google does not even plan to prompt its iPhone users about being tracked — instead it will cease to rely on a user’s IDFA altogether
Losing access to third-party data is damaging to Google and Facebook, but if all of their rivals lose that access, too, then Whoever has the Most First-Party Data Wins. And that’s Google and Facebook. (Also, and you'll be shocked by this: Apple)
Apple's policy does nothing about first-party data, so when an iPhone owner uses Google Search, Maps, Chrome, Gmail or YouTube, Google can still use that information to build ad profiles, unencumbered.
Sheryl Sandberg gets it. When she was asked this week if the iOS changes will shift from a “short-term headwind to potentially a tailwind”, the chief operating officer responded: “You’re exactly right.”

Compared to rivals, Facebook is “relatively better positioned”.
Glu realised the implications of Apple's privacy push earlier than most. Within weeks of Apple's announcement in June '20 it held a board meeting to discuss how it might “combine scale to address the business model challenges posed by the pending release of an Apple iOS update."
Glu solicited interest in being acquired, held discussions with at least five parties, and in February found a buyer in Electronic Arts, which paid $2.1bn — a 40 per cent premium to its 30-day average price.
Bigger is better because of the IDFV, or ID for Vendors, which app developers still get when users opt out of IDFA. It's a string of numbers that are consistent among apps with the same owner.

Someone like @zynga with ~500 apps in the App Store likely comes out swinging.
Their ability to cross-promote apps within any game is a major advantage. It's even building out its own adtech platform to capitalise. If you own the adtech, well then you're not sharing with third parties.
Rival @AppLovin is doing the same. It purchased @adjustcom for $1bn.

CFO Herald Chen told me that Apple’s privacy push should help it at the expense of rivals. “We believe having access to that first party data will enable us to manage through these changes rather well."
.@eric_seufert explains the strategy: sever one’s dependence on external ad platforms and instead create a “content fortress” — a collection of 1st-party content “supported by owned ad tech infrastructure such that reliance on external sources of new users or data is minimised”
Formation CEO Christian Selchau-Hansen says "gaming M&A has spiked" as the industry grasps this:

“What you’re seeing is the benefits of scale. If you have 10 apps, you can arbitrage across those apps and have an incredible advantage over someone that has a single gaming app.”
In addition to entrenching big companies, the risk for Apple is that it may have created an enforcement nightmare.

The digital ads industry is bigger than Apple, by revenue. Some will die. They won't die quietly. They'll circumvent, undermine in all kinds of ways.
In the scenario where groups successfully get around Apple's rules, then its privacy push becomes a marketing gimmick - the illusion of privacy, not the real thing. It's not clear (yet) Apple is prepared for the massive auditing to come.
People generally trust Apple, so will assume it can do a good job. But recent court documents revealed by Epic suggest the App Review process is less-than-rigorous. Finding scam apps is pretty simple. See @keleftheriou
Conversely, if Apple wins this battle, it could embolden regulators. Today, the EU charged Apple with antitrust abuse. The US is investigating the same. On Monday, Apple defends itself against monopoly charges by Epic.
Amid all this, Apple's sweeping privacy push -- more consequential than GDPR -- is a magnificent show of force in how 1bn+ phones (1/7of the planet) operate.
"If Apple succeeds ... it actually hurts them as it relates to antitrust,” says Mike Fong of @Privoro
“You have the biggest companies in the world — @Facebook, @Tencent, @tiktok — plus the biggest government in the world. And Apple literally faces them all down. And wins.”
Full story here and in tomorrow's paper.…
Original scoop on CAID here, with @YuanfenYang…
A Q&A on Apple's update here, with @MsHannahMurphy…

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More from @PatrickMcGee_

21 Apr
*thread* begins:

Sen Klobuchar said @Apple and @Google “operate at gatekeepers, with the power to decide how or whether apps can reach iPhone and Android users.”
“Just because a company creates a successful innovative business that consumers like doesn't give it a free pass to harm competition or ignore our antitrust laws.”
“In 2020, consumers are estimated to have spent $72.3bn in Apple's App Store and $38.6bn in Google's Play Store. Applying their standard commission rates to these amounts net Apple and Google billions of dollars.”
Read 91 tweets
8 Apr
Overnight both @Apple and @EpicGames released hundreds of pages of new documents, containing lots of colour based on discovery and recent depositions. I stayed up reading so you don't have to. Here's what I learnt (couple *bombshells* in here)
Epic argues that Apple’s App Store review process is “cursory” and that Apple doesn’t recruit reviewers with sophisticated tech backgrounds.
When the App Store first began, applicants were considered qualified if they “understood how to use a Mac”, “understood how to use an iPhone”, “understood a little about the Apple brand”, “could breathe . . . could think”.
Read 23 tweets
28 Sep 20
Apple-Epic hearing started a few minutes early. “We are going to be hear for hours, I suspect,” says Judge Gonzales, who threatens to mute people if they regurgitate arguments she’s already aware of.

Thread begins...
Gonzales begins by grilling Katherine Forrest - Epic’s lawyer - and says it’s not acceptable Epic hasn’t produced documents for discovery.

“Well, Apple has already produced. So, I find it to be convenient for you, not convenient for anybody else.”
Judge wants to define the relevant market, “the area of effective competition.” Says Clearly “this is where I have the most questions.”
Read 76 tweets
14 Sep 20
Last week I wrote about rampant app inflation in the @Apple App Store. Quick addendum, from the cutting room floor, via thread.

Apple: how app developers manipulate your mood to boost ranking via @FT
Apple claims its store is curated and that they heavily invest to make sure apps work and that reviews are accurate. But it’s simple to find examples where 5-star reviews are bogus and the the star ratings are at best questionable and likely fraudulent.
Eg The 50th (now 63rd) ranked lifestyle app is “Make Money - Earn Easy Cash.” It has 26 one-star reviews in the last two weeks alone, with multiple reviewers calling the app “fake,” “a scam”, “horrible” or citing “terrible customer service.”

Rating? 4.9 stars. ImageImageImageImage
Read 4 tweets
8 Sep 20
Apple counter-sues Epic -- 1/many. *thread from doc* @Apple @EpicGames

"Although Epic portrays itself as a modern corporate Robin Hood, in reality it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store."
Epic 'rakes in billions by taking commissions on game developers’ sales and charging consumers up to $99.99 for bundles of “V-Bucks.”'
"Epic has taken advantage of Apple’s support and services more than any other app developer for the past two years..

Fortnite has used 400+ of Apple’s unique API frameworks and classes (such as Metal), as well as five different versions of Apple’s Software Development Kit (SDK)"
Read 12 tweets
30 Jul 20
1/Notes from my quick interview with Apple CFO Luca Maestri. A thread:.

“It’s clear to us our products are very relevant to our customers lives and the pandemic has them more relevant than ever before”

“Working from home, online learning — both trends are helpful.”
“We grew revenue in every product category... Records for Mac, wearables, services ... and each geographic segment.”
3/ “What went better than expected for us was iPhones and Wearables. In both cases April was a tough month for us, very much impacted by C19.” May and June saw a resurgence and the iPhone SE proved successful.
Read 6 tweets

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