Oren Kaniel was riding high. His company, AppsFlyer, had snagged a $210m (£170m) cash injection from top Silicon Valley venture capital firms in January. The investment, he said, would allow the San Francisco-based upstart, with 900 employees in 18 offices, to “double down” on helping big brands such as Facebook, HBO and Nike to measure the effectiveness of their mobile ads.

Then, last Monday, Apple announced a software change that will dramatically reduce apps’ ability to track iPhone users, attacking the core of AppsFlyer’s business and throwing a wrench in the works of the $220bn-a-year mobile ads industry. Eric Seufert, founder of the trade blog Mobile Dev Memo, called the decision an “extinction event” for companies such as AppsFlyer that have inserted themselves between big


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