Former iAd exec leaves Apple for being too respectful of user privacy

From the Wall Street Journal:

A top advertising executive at Apple has left to help lead Drawbridge, a fast-growing startup that helps marketers track user identity across mobile devices.

Winston Crawford, the former head of Apple’s mobile ad marketplace, has joined Drawbridge as its first chief operating officer, he said in an interview.

No worries there. People come and go all the time.

But his logic for leaving:

“I don’t believe they are interested in this capability because they have a strict policy around what they do with user data,” Crawford said. “IAd has great assets and great capabilities, but they are going to follow Apple’s policy to the letter of the law.”

That says a lot about Apple’s business practices and privacy.

Here’s the business model that lured Winston away from Apple:

Crawford’s experience overseeing ads on iPhones and iPads lends credibility to Drawbridge’s business of monitoring users as they move between mobile devices. The four-year-old startup can detect when the same user logs onto the Web from a PC, tablet or smartphone, or purchases a product in a retail store, based on their browsing habits and other clues. Drawbridge then sells that information to marketers who want to show the same person ads on different devices and measure the ads’ effectiveness.

Your ethics are holding me back, Apple.



  • Macayabella

    Your ethics are totally in line with my own, Apple.

  • Wait, I thought Apple was the bad guy?

  • How dare you not sell your user base out for pennies per user, Apple! How dare you!

  • satcomer

    It’s people like him that is wrong with the Internet today!

    • Yup. Moe accurately, maybe, it’s people like him that brought us to today’s Internet.