Things weren’t looking good for Google’s $750 million acquisition bid for mobile advertiser AdMob because the Federal Trade Commission was combing through the deal to seemingly find reasons to stop it. Well, the FTC unanimously cleared the deal Friday and part of the reason was due to Android’s rival, Apple.
The governmental agency was legitimately worried that the search giant would extend its near-monopoly of online advertising into the nascent mobile space. I was concerned that it may overreach by stopping the deal, but it was approved 5-0. One of the deciding factors is that Apple jumped into the mobile ad game with the iAd platform in iPhone OS 4.0, which is integrated with the OS and can produce rich-media ads without leaving the app.
“As a result of Apple’s entry (into the market), AdMob’s success to date on the iPhone platform is unlikely to be an accurate predictor of AdMob’s competitive significance going forward, whether AdMob is owned by Google or not,” the FTC said in a prepared statement.
On its blog, Google said it is moving to close the deal within a few weeks and it will work furiously to bring the teams together to capitalize on a market that could potentially be huge over the next decade.
If you’re friends with any employees at AdMob, I’d suggest going out with them tonight because they should be out celebrating.
“We are extremely pleased with today’s decision from the Federal Trade Commission to clear Google’s acquisition of AdMob,” said AdMob founder and CEO Omar Hamoui, in an e-mail. “Over the past six months we’ve received a great deal of support from across the mobile industry – and we deeply appreciate it. Our focus is now on working with the team at Google to quickly close the deal.”
The mobile ad space is small right now but it’s shaping up to be an outright war between Apple and Google. The search giant makes most of its money from advertisers so it has the experience and inventory that Apple lacks, but Steve Jobs’ company has recently been able to jump into new markets (phones, tablets) and do extremely well. It will be fun to watch folks.