Apple versus Google. That's the major thread these days, two corporate monoliths duking it out for tech supremacy. But today, Apple's actions allowed Google to become the most powerful mobile ad company in the world.
Google's acquisition of AdMob balloons its already dominant mobile advertising business. When the deal was first announced back in November, it raised more than a few regulatory eyebrows. And although the Federal Trade Commission today acknowledged that the pairing of the two still "raised serious antitrust issues," they ultimately approved the transaction. Their primary justification? Apple.
From today's ruling:
During the investigation, Apple acquired the third largest mobile ad network, Quattro Wireless, in December 2009 and then introduced its own mobile advertising network, iAd, as part of its iPhone applications package. The Commission has reason to believe that Apple quickly will become a strong mobile advertising network competitor.
The 5-0 ruling in favor of Google shows just how big a threat the FTC considers Apple to be, particularly since iAd gives them complete say in how iPhone ad networks are run. Up to and including closing the platform off to AdMob entirely.
This is how arms races and land grabs evolve: each side spurring the other to more drastic measures. And while the Google-AdMob deal certainly doesn't create a monopoly, we'll know soon enough how the Apple-Google duopoly will shape our mobile experience. [FTC via NY Times]