Apple is said to be preparing to wind down the in-house ad sales portion of its iAd business, moving to an automated process. iAd itself will apparently stick around, though Apple will reportedly no longer sell ads directly.
Instead, publishers will be able to sell through iAd directly, according to Buzzfeed:
Apple is phasing out its iAd sales force entirely and updating the iAds platform so that publishers can sell through it directly. And publishers who do so will keep 100% of the revenue they generate. It's not clear what this means for Rubicon Project, MediaMath, and the other ad tech companies that had been overseeing programmatic, or automated, demand-side ad buying on the platform, but it doesn't look good.
Apple first introduced iAds in early 2010, framing it as a better way for developers to place ads in their mobile apps. However, the platform has had difficulty gaining traction among ad publishers. The company started selling automated iAds with Project Rubicon in late 2014. iAd Marketplaces head Winston Crawford left Apple for a startup in July 2015.