FTC greenlights Google-AdMob deal

FTC says Apple moves make Google/AdMob advertising network viable

The Federal Trade Commission today said it closed the investigation of the proposed  $750 million Google acquisition of mobile advertising network company AdMob

The FTC  said that while the combination of the two leading mobile advertising networks raised serious antitrust issues, the agency's concerns ultimately were overshadowed by recent developments in the market, most notably a move by Apple  to launch its own, competing mobile ad network. In addition, a number of firms appear to be developing or acquiring smartphone platforms to better compete against Apple's iPhone and Google's Android, and these firms would have a strong incentive to facilitate competition among mobile advertising networks, the FTC stated. 

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"Though we have determined not to take action today, the Commission will continue to monitor the mobile marketplace to ensure a competitive environment and to protect the interests of consumers," the FTC stated.

According to the FTC's statement, evidence gathered by the agency raised important questions about the transaction. 

The FTC said that Google and AdMob have competed head-to-head for the past few years, with a notable increase in intensity during the past year. This competition has spurred innovation and allowed mobile publishers to keep a large share of the revenue generated from the sale of their ad space. 

The companies's size give them a major advantage over smaller rivals in the business, the FTC says. But those concerns were outweighed by recent evidence that Apple is poised to become a strong competitor in the mobile advertising market, the FTC's statement says. Apple recently acquired Quattro Wireless and used it to launch its own iAd service. In addition, Apple can leverage its close relationships with application developers and users, its access to a large amount of proprietary user data, and its ownership of iPhone software development tools and control over the iPhone developers' license agreement, the FTC said.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8   

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