Apple Tells Quattro, ‘You’re Mine and Mine Alone!’

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IphoneWhen you heard that Quattro was bought by Apple, followed by the iAd unveiling, you knew it was only a matter of time before the mobile ad network went down, especially considering Steve Jobs’ fondness for walled gardens. One announcement after another, including Apple offering iTunes conversion data exclusively through Quattro, was leading to the inevitable.

Finally Quattro posted on its website yesterday that come Sept. 30 (my birthday!), the mobile ad network “will support ads exclusively for the iAd Network” because “iAd is the best mobile ad network in the world….” So don’t bother sending any new campaigns ’cause Quattro don’t want ’em.

Shutting down Quattro’s mobile ad network is an awfully weird present for my 30th birthday, Apple. I was kind of hoping you’d send me an iPhone 4.

When I read aloud the obituary, a peer asked, “Well why did they pay $275 million for it if they were only going to shut it down?” Acqu-hiring, my dear coworker — Apple wanted the staff and the tech. Smaller buys and little direct-response campaigns just aren’t on the tech giant’s agenda, as evidenced by iAd’s $1 million floor.

Apple’s mobile walled garden is still open to some visitors: though Google and AdMob are banned from Apple mobile devices (although word on the street is AdMob-served ads are still popping up on iPhones), independent ad networks such Greystripe and Jumptap are free to play by the pond (but keep off the grass!).

Further good news for the indies is that mobile publishers and app developers uninterested in the iAd, which has had some birthing pangs, will be looking at other sources for monetization.

However, those independent networks aren’t cracking open the champagne — some are actually disappointed in Apple for nixing Quattro’ mobile ad network. Greystripe Director of Marketing Dane Honewinski — who recently graced these pages with an interesting case study — wrote on the company blog that the move kills support for major audience segments on non-Apple platforms and is ultimately lousy for both advertisers and developers.

“As the Android audience catches up to iPhone and Blackberry continues to improve the potential for user engagement, these smartphone platforms will become increasingly important for advertisers,” he pointed out, before suggesting displaced advertisers and pubs check out Greystripe’s wares.

Rumor has it that fellow indie Millennial Media may soon get kicked out of Apple’s mobile walled garden as well. Despite hopes significantly dimming for its supposed savior, the BlackBerry Torch, smartphone-maker Research in Motion has been in talks with the mobile ad network as it eyes opening its own. However, The Wall Street Journal reports that talks have stalled over the valuation of the company; also, in an interview earlier this summer, Millennial CEO Paul Palmieri suggested to WSJ that the company was more interested in an IPO.

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