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Tim Cook saw big money in App Store ads, shot down early resistance

Following the rollout of Apple's controversial expansion of ads, ex-Apple engineer Shac Ron has revealed that staffers pushed back on the original App Store ad program.

The latest controversy over Apple's ads in the App Store stem from the company's new push to increase its advertising revenue. But now a former employee has revealed that Apple staff were deeply opposed to the introduction of any ads in the App Store at all.

Shac Ron, now with Nvidia, was a Senior Kernel Engineer at Apple for 10 years starting in 2007. He was an employee when the App Store was first launched.

"When ads first appeared in the App Store in early iOS betas, many inside were very upset," he wrote in a micro blog post. "It was an insult to our customers."

"We pushed back strongly," he continued. "After a meeting where management pretended to listen to our concerns, it was evident they had no intention of changing their mind."

"This was the strongest pushback effort I've seen in my time at Apple," wrote Ron. "It was also doomed because Tim Cook saw the money Facebook, Google, and others were making from ads for apps and decided that he wants a portion of that."

"To me ads in iOS are particularly offensive because I took pride in making products that served the customer," wrote Ron. "Ads turn 'customers' into 'users' to be monetized for the real customers, the ad buyers."

Reactions to the new ads

"They fundamentally compromise the integrity of the product," he continued. "I'm glad to see apple getting raked for ads in the OS."

"They are disgusting and shameful," says Ron. "I hope [Apple] will realize how offensive these are, but realistically I doubt it."

Currently, one of the options for advertisers on the App Store is that they able to specify that their ads be shown only against apps that are in completely unrelated genres to their own. This has so far resulted in gambling apps being surfaced next to ones for children.

Apple has also promoted gambling apps with ads right alongside apps that are intended to help recovering gambling addicts.