A little over a month ago, Steve Jobs blasted Google at an Apple Town Hall meeting for entering Apple's territory. "We did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business," Jobs told employees. "Make no mistake: they want to kill the iPhone. We won't let them [...] This 'don't be evil' mantra? It's bullshit." Notice Jobs didn't say, "We didn't enter the ad business."
A recent Apple job listing for a Senior Interactive Web Developer pretty much confirms that Apple is entering the mobile advertising business head on. The listing begins "Apple advertising is an opportunity to redefine the advertising on mobile devices. It's an exciting environment and a fast-paced development organization. We're looking for an experienced interactive developer." The successful applicant will be responsible for developing the front end web UI development of compelling, interactive digital advertising experiences.
The posting hints that Apple wants to make it as easy as possible for developers to monetize their apps. As AppleInsider points out, Apple wants to make it as trivial for developers to add advertisement placements to their applications as it currently is to add buttons or interface controls.
With the iPhone and Android totaling 75% of U.S. smartphone web traffic as of last November, it's no surprise Apple wants to enter the ad business on their device that is responsible for 51% of the market.
Last November, Google bought Admob, the largest mobile ad company in the world, for $750 million. Shortly thereafter rumors emerged that Apple had been in talks with Admob before Google's deal. Less than two months later, Apple acquired Admob competitor Quattro Wireless in a deal valued at $275 million.
It looks like Apple is as serious about the mobile ad business as Google is about the smartphone business.