Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Shooting from Carol Bartz’s Hip: Apple’s iAds Are Just Awful, Which Is Why Yahoo Buys Them!

If you’re going to trash the competition in the online advertising business in a widely quoted press interview, it’s probably a good idea to check if someone on your staff was, you know, buying up the very product you dissed.

That’s precisely the case with Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, whose shoot-from-her-hip stylings in a wide-ranging chat with Reuters, published earlier this week, took aim at–among many others–Apple and its mobile iAds product.

“That’s going to fall apart for them,” she said to Reuters, apparently referring to reports that the perfection-obsessed tech giant would involve itself in the creative part of ads on its service. “Advertisers are not going to have that type of control over them. Apple wants total control over those ads.”

At an Apple event in April, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was certainly insisting on beauty and usefulness, as well as on deep interactivity within the app itself, unlike other mobile ads that take a user from the app to a Web site.

It’s definitely a clear strategic direction by Apple, exerting more control as they do with its App Store, and many are not going to like it.

Thus, Bartz, whose company has been lagging in the mobile-ad arena behind both Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), took the obvious shot.

Except, as you can see below, Yahoo (YHOO) bought one of many iAds last week within the Pandora music app, which went live this week, touting its Sportacular iPhone app.

What adds a level of irony here is that Bartz, in another interview, in The Wall Street Journal, this week, continued to compare Yahoo to Apple and herself to Jobs, when insisting investors be patient with the Silicon Valley Internet giant’s continued lackluster performance.

According to the Journal:

“Apple’s stock-market capitalization was ‘dead a– flat’ for a number of years after Mr. Jobs returned in 1997, Ms. Bartz said in a wide-ranging interview on Wednesday. ‘You don’t come in and do fairy dust. You upgrade technology, you see what drives engagement,’ she said.”

Bartz has used this comparison a lot over the last year–although I am not sure it is the best idea unless she is certain there is a golden iPod-like innovation coming out in the end for Yahoo.

The iHoo? I think not.

BoomTown has a call into Yahoo PR, on whose last nerve I am working this week, for an explanation.

And here is the lovely iAd Yahoo bought: