The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has approved Google’s $750 million acquisition of the mobile advertisement network AdMob. After a six month review, FTC concluded that the acquisition “is unlikely to harm competition in the emerging market for mobile advertising networks”.
This move would come as a relief to Google, whose growing prominence has brought it under the FTC’s scanner. Even as late as last month, FTC appeared to be swaying against the deal that raised “serious antitrust issues”. Yet, when it came to making the final decision, the acquisition sailed through with 5-0 votes in favor of closing the inquiry. So, what changed?
It appears that Apple may have inadvertently helped Google through their purchase of the mobile ad network Quattro Wireless. “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 Commission’s statement explains. During the investigation, FTC reached out to several developers, who opined in favor of the acquisition. In fact, some of these developers even voiced their opinion in their blogs and publicly hinted at FTC’s anti-Google bias.
AdMob, founded by Omar Hamoui in 2006, is a dominant player in the Mobile advertising market and reportedly serve more than 7.1 billion mobile banner and text ads per month. Google acquired it in late 2009 after winning a bidding war against Apple.