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Apple to reportedly exit ad business, hand over iAd management to publishers

Nearly six years after its debut, Apple is reportedly planning to take a much less active role in its in-house iAd advertising platform, as it intends to hand over ad management duties — and revenue — to publishers in the near future.

Apple will dissolve the current iAd sales team and reconfigure the platform as an automated service, leaving advertisement creation, sales and management to publishers as part of the strategic shift, reports BuzzFeed News. In exchange, Apple will no longer charge its usual 30 percent fee, meaning publishers that manage their own iAds keep all revenue the content generates.

"It's just not something we're good at," an unnamed source said of the advertisement game.

Details of the impending wind down are sparse, though BuzzFeed believes initial steps might be taken as soon as this week. Apple will buy out sales team contracts, but the fate of firms currently handling programmatic ad buying services is less clear.

"The big publishing groups will just fold programmatic buys into the stuff they're selling across all their properties," one source said.

The news is somewhat in line with recent comments from Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, who said the company is working on a self-service ad-buying tool for publishers serving content through the iOS 9 News app. That service is expected to launch in the next two months.

In spite of a hyped launch in 2010, iAd failed to become the end-all in-app ad platform Apple was looking to build. Early reports saw iAd as abillion dollar opportunity, while others projected iAd revenue to one day account for 8 percent of Apple's stock value. Today's report cited data from EMarketer showing iAd's take of the mobile advertising space was a mere 5.1 percent in 2015, compared to Google's 9.5 percent and Facebook's 37.9 percent.