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Apple 'a pain to deal with'

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Apple's iOS-based iAd service will jump the pond next month and land in the UK and France, debuting with ads for L'Oréal, Renault, Louis Vuitton, Absolute Radio, and eight other deep-pocket brands.

These brands will join what Cupertino's announcement claims are "over half of the top 25 leading US national advertisers" in the pricey service. One "person familiar with the matter" told The Wall Street Journal that the cost of participating in July's launch of the iAd network may have been as high as $10m.

According to a recent report in the Financial Times, however, Apple's high prices and control freakery have induced a tepid response from many European advertisers.

"They are expensive and a pain to deal with," one ad buyer told the IFT about the Cupertian ad brokers. "Apple is in a weaker position than you'd think,” said another. According to the paper's sources, Apple has been forced to lower its rates in Europe.

Nonetheless, it's a sure bet that Jobs & Co. are counting on the addition of the UK and France to help the company achieve the goal that Steve Jobs set when he announced the iAd service back in April: to get one billion ad impressions per day by the end of this year.

With iAd network also planned for an early-2011 debut in Japan, as well, Cupertino seems bent on doing exactly what Jobs said it wouldn't: during his April announcement, he said that Apple had "no plans to become a worldwide ad agency."

Remember, though, that Jobs' stated reason for launching the iAd network is, in his words, an altruistic one. At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Jobs said that iAd's purpose was "To help our developers earn money so they continue to create free and low-cost apps."

Well, maybe not fully altruistic. The more free and low-cost apps Jobs can tout, the more buyers are attracted to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

And the more iOS devices are out there, the more advertisers — including those in the UK, France, and soon Japan — will be attracted to iAds. Even if Apple is "a pain to deal with." ®

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