Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
Recently we told how the advertising business was enraged by Microsoft’s decision to break ranks with the industry and make “Do Not Track” the default position on Internet Explorer 10. Web advertising is almost entirely dependent on the ability to track users and make targeted guesses about their interests. Billions of dollars in spending and revenue rely almost entirely on tracking data. DNT threatens it all, especially if users or the makers of the other browsers — Chrome and Firefox — adopt the same position.But a source recently told us how Microsoft could be shooting itself in the foot with DNT when it comes to Windows Phone, and its beautiful but unpopular Lumia models from Nokia.
In fact, DNT could eventually kill off Windows Phone, in a worst-case scenario, this source agreed.
This source — who is an expert in tracking, cookies and mobile advertising — pointed out that Facebook, with its new mobile ad network, just joined Google (Android) and Apple (iAd) in the mobile ad network pool. Both Facebook and Google’s ad networks rely on tracking and cookies to function; Apple’s new OS 6 platform automatically allows advertisers to track users unless they affirmatively opt out.
The reason those companies allow tracking so readily is that they know mobile advertising provides revenue streams, in one way or another, for app developers. It is the apps that make phones interesting, not the phones themselves. (How much fun would your iPhone be if there were no apps on it?)
One reason Google, Apple and Facebook allow tracking is so that app developers can make money from ads and thus fund the creation of fun things for your phone (or in Facebook’s case, its social network).
If tracking is turned off all over Microsoft’s network — including Windows Phone — then there will be little economic incentive for anyone to create apps for it. The Lumia could end up being a very beautiful phone that does nothing except make calls, send texts, and surf the web.
And that would sound its economic death knell.
- How Microsoft’s ‘Do Not Track’ Policy Is A Mortal Threat To Ad Exchanges Like Facebook’s
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