FTC looks to block Google’s AdMob acquisition as Apple preps mobile ad platform

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“The Federal Trade Commission appears to be laying the groundwork for an antitrust challenge to Google Inc.’s proposed purchase of mobile-advertising company AdMob,” Thomas Catan and Jessica E. Vascellaro report for The Wall Street Journal.

“The FTC has assembled an internal litigation team to prepare for a possible effort to block the deal, according to people familiar with the matter,” Catan and Vascellaro report. “It also sent letters to AdMob’s competitors asking them to testify in sworn statements about the potential impact of the purchase, according to several other people with knowledge of the effort. In addition, the agency has briefed Congress on its concerns about the deal, the people familiar with the matter said.”

“The FTC’s staff hasn’t made a final decision to try to halt the AdMob deal, and its five commissioners haven’t yet voted on the issue. Google lawyers continue to meet with the agency’s staff to argue in favor of the acquisition, and the two sides could yet come to an agreement that assuages the FTC and preserves the deal,” Catan and Vascellaro report. “Still, the moves suggest that FTC investigators have serious concerns that Google’s $750 million agreement to buy AdMob— a leading supplier of ads that run on mobile devices like Apple Inc.’s iPhone— could allow Google to extend its dominance into a crucial new technology sector. The potential clash comes as the Internet-search giant is facing a lengthening list of antitrust investigations in the U.S. and Europe.”

“‘Mobile-app advertising is less than two years old; there are more than a dozen mobile-ad networks; app developers and advertisers routinely use multiple networks; and the leading mobile-app platform, Apple, is now entering the mobile-ad space as well,’ Google said in a statement,” Catan and Vascellaro report. “Even so, the FTC could argue that it is important to nip any potential anticompetitive pressures in the bud before they become entrenched.”

Full article here.

Peter Kafka writes for AllThingsD, “Apple is likely to introduce its mobile ad platform Thursday at its iPhone developer event, say sources familiar with the company’s plans. Expect to hear a loud cheer from Google, Apple’s former ally and current competitor.”

“Why would Google applaud the entrance of a new advertising rival? Because Google is trying to convince federal regulators that it has advertising rivals so that it can proceed with its $750 million purchase of AdMob. That deal is being held up for review by the Federal Trade Commission, and there have been consistent murmurs from Washington that the purchase could be in jeopardy,” Kafka reports. “Apple’s plan to get into mobile advertising has been apparent since early January when the company purchased Quattro Wireless for $275 million.”

Kafka reports, “Last month, when MediaPost wrote a story speculating about Apple’s mobile ad plans–the publication dubbed the platform ‘iAd,’ but I’m not sure that Apple intends to go with that name–Google sent reporters an email link to the story. ‘If true, it would be more evidence of how competitive and quickly-evolving the mobile ad space is,” wrote Adam Kovacevich, a manager at the company’s public affairs group.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: With the release of version 2 of the MacDailyNews app in late February, we switched fully from AdMob to Apple’s Quattro Wireless mobile ad network for mobile versions of MacDailyNews.


  1. The FTC is investigating based upon the request of a senator. After Apple makes all their noise about iAD, the snakes at Google will have clear sailing on acquiring AdMob, pure and simple.

  2. @MadMac:

    It’s not so much the suckers, it’s the developers who place these ads in way so that it can be accidentally touched. Here’s one example: Optime. There Hearts game places their ads directly below your character. When pushing to play your cards, you can accidental tap on that ad. If you have big fingers like me, you touch it on several occasions.

  3. If I was Apple seeing this article, I’d intentionally hold off on mentioning their advancements with Quattro. I’d give Google no grounds to say they have competition just to piss them off further lol.

  4. “Why would Google applaud the entrance of a new advertising rival? Because Google is trying to convince federal regulators that it has advertising rivals so that it can proceed with its $750 million purchase of AdMob…”

    Google 2010 = Microsoft 1998

  5. It’s about time the Government grew some balls and put the breaks on Google. They should have done it to Microsoft long before Microsoft became a monopoly.

    Stop the spread of the Evil Google Empire!

  6. Uh, there is not ONE good reason provided in these articles for the FTC to stop Google’s acquisition of AdMob. Those posting on this thread seem to think that because Google is competing with Apple that is good enough reason for the FTC to intervene. Just because Google is successful is not a reason for them to be stopped! What evidence is there Google has abused its position to harm consumers? By the way, such idiocy could easily be turned against Apple at any time by the FTC bureaucrats! Then the dopes on this thread would cry foul, but it would be too late. I would rather have Apple beat Google fairly in the marketplace.
    Go Apple!

  7. Google is already a monster now. It doesn’t deserve to have AdMob or it will turn into a bigger beast – it will be an ogre, a man-eating giant and a cruel or terrifying entity according to the definition by Oxford Dictionary.

    The FTC will be doing the country a great service by prying this prized possession from the deathly cold fingers of Google. If this uncouth impatient upstart, which aspires to even challenge the authorities of governments everywhere, has its own ways it will become an unmitigated disaster to mankind.

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