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FTC approves Google-AdMob deal, cites competition from Apple's iAd

post #1 of 58
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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission voted 5-0 on Friday to approve Google's $750 million acquisition of mobile advertising firm AdMob, citing Apple's iAd as increasing competition in the marketplace.

The commission issued a statement Friday saying that Apple's move to launch its own advertising network "overshadowed" concerns of antitrust issues in Google's acquisition of AdMob.

"As a result of Apples 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 statement.

It went on to say that mergers in "fast-growing new markets like mobile advertising" should not be subjected to the same level of scrutiny as businesses in other markets might have to endure.

"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 commission said.

The FTC determined that "Apple is poised to become a strong competitor in the mobile advertising market," through its purchase of Quattro Wireless and forthcoming iAd rollout on the iPhone OS platform. Apple can also leverage close relationships with application developers and users, the commission said, in addition to a large amount of proprietary user data.

"We are extremely pleased with todays decision from the Federal Trade Commission to clear Google's acquisition of AdMob," Omar Hamoui, AdMob founder and CEO said in a statement. "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."

Previous reports suggested the FTC was leaning toward opposing the deal on the grounds that the combination of Google and AdMob would create too powerful a company in the mobile ad space. The FTC took an extra two weeks to review the AdMob deal as it sought more information on Apple's purchase of competing mobile ad agency Quattro Wireless.

Apple has big plans for its own mobile advertising venture, dubbed iAd, set to debut this summer. Google highlighted Apple's entrance into the advertising market as evidence of competition in the marketplace, in hopes that it would help to convince the FTC to approve its acquisition of AdMob.

After a deal was struck in late 2009, consumer groups asked the FTC to block Google's planned purchase of AdMob, citing both antitrust and privacy issues. The group alleged that the combination of Google and AdMob "would be harmful to consumers, advertisers and application developers."

Before Google bought AdMob, Apple tried first, Steve Jobs admitted in April when iAd was introduced. But AdMob was "snatched" by Google before Apple could close the deal, he said.

One report alleged that AdMob had agreed to a 45-day "no-shop" provision with Apple, to prevent the sale to another company. But as soon as that provision expired, Google pounced and paid $750 million -- a premium price that the search giant was reportedly willing to pay to keep the company away from Apple. Apple then settled for Quattro Wireless for $275 million.
post #2 of 58
Google FTW!
post #3 of 58
Google is starting to scare me with all the stuff they're doing. TV, phones, search, desktop OS, music store, advertising, blogging, video (YouTube), VoIP, social networking, photo sharing and editing (Picasa), office suite, GPS, web browser, iTunes syncing--it's all a bit big. All their acquisitions are worrisome to me as well, as they are buying all the great small companies and hiding and holding them for their use only (I understand Apple does this too, but Google has quite a few more buy-outs). Google is growing so large so fast, I can only guess at where they'll be in 2 years.
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post #4 of 58
"Fast growing mobile advertising business should not be scrutinized"?

Yea the same way that fast growing hedging market should not be scrutinized. The same way as the off shore drilling should not be scrutinized.

Whatever I knew that this deal would go through (after all Google has a lot of money to drop on lobbying), but as I said before, citing an unreleased competitor (iAd) as the reason for the decision is a bit silly, since no one really know how well received and how good iAd will be.

Google is really sticking it to Apple, and this is a great time for Apple to buckle down, and drive innovation even harder to win against Google. iOS and iPad are great starts, but iAd better be really good as well.
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post #5 of 58
No surprise here. FTC does not have the 'nads to stand up to Google. Besides, Apple provided a pretty good argument for them (iAd) - although I did not know that an announcement was considered competition (vaporware competition).
post #6 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

...Google has quite a few more buy-outs...

I am not sure that is accurate. Apple has purchased a lot of IP by acquiring companies of various sizes. It has been much more publicized to date with Apple and Google going for the same thing more than once.

If anyone has any info for say the last 2 or three years I know I would be interested. If we go back far enough and start including things like iTunes and all the Pro apps then I think Apple wins.
post #7 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post

I am not sure that is accurate. Apple has purchased a lot of IP by acquiring companies of various sizes. It has been much more publicized to date with Apple and Google going for the same thing more than once.

If anyone has any info for say the last 2 or three years I know I would be interested. If we go back far enough and start including things like iTunes and all the Pro apps then I think Apple wins.

Google has way more.

Apple total count: 28
Apple in the past 3 years: 6
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...tions_by_Apple

Google total count: 68
Google in the past 3 years: 33
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ions_by_Google

Google has done more in the past 3 years than Apple in totality.
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post #8 of 58
Well, one thing would seem to be certain. The FTC can't very well throw any roadblocks in Apple's way in deploying iAd after approving this for the reasons given.
post #9 of 58
Quote:
Google pounced and paid $750 -- a premium price

post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

Google is growing so large so fast, I can only guess at where they'll be in 2 years.

I eagerly await the day when I can buy the Googleos brand breakfast cereal. I, for one, welcome our Google overlords.
post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post

No surprise here. FTC does not have the 'nads to stand up to Google. Besides, Apple provided a pretty good argument for them (iAd) - although I did not know that an announcement was considered competition (vaporware competition).

That is one of the most amazing thing about today's marketplace. Vaporware is just as good as the real thing.

Google was able to use vaporware to convince the FTC that there is competition in the market today.

Adobe has convinced 90% of the press that Apple is being evil by banning a product that doesn't even exist.

When the iPad came out, people were talking about how much better the HP slate or Courier were.

What ever happened to people talking about REAL products?
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post #12 of 58
Anyone else wonder if Google's advertising is getting too big to handle?

"The flavor of almonds makes your Apple Pie even better."
post #13 of 58
It would seem that FTC has preemptevly advised Google that Apple is good to go with leveraging customer info not shared with anyone else google has publicly implied that that was unfair and discriminentory. Too bad.
post #14 of 58
Sounds like a reasonable decision to me. And, by a similar logic, the FTC should also ignore Adobe's complaint against Apple. The mobile market is clearly very competitive in all aspects. There is currently no need for anti-trust action against anyone.
post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

Google is starting to scare me with all the stuff they're doing. TV, phones, search, desktop OS, music store, advertising, blogging, video (YouTube), VoIP, social networking, photo sharing and editing (Picasa), office suite, GPS, web browser, iTunes syncing--it's all a bit big. All their acquisitions are worrisome to me as well, as they are buying all the great small companies and hiding and holding them for their use only (I understand Apple does this too, but Google has quite a few more buy-outs). Google is growing so large so fast, I can only guess at where they'll be in 2 years.

yes, it's scary because nobody knows what will kill them

and scientists keep looking for the cure for cancer, which is exactly how the world works
post #16 of 58
I feel sorry for all those technology people working at Google, their company is turning in to an advertising giant. Hey guys, if you want to get back in to tech there's always Apple
post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

Google has way more.

Apple total count: 28
Apple in the past 3 years: 6
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...tions_by_Apple

Google total count: 68
Google in the past 3 years: 33
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ions_by_Google

Google has done more in the past 3 years than Apple in totality.

I'd wager Google is putting a thorn in Apple's side. Google is so quick to overpay for a company that Apple can't come in and lowball them anymore. That would piss me off.
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post #18 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

Sounds like a reasonable decision to me. And, by a similar logic, the FTC should also ignore Adobe's complaint against Apple. The mobile market is clearly very competitive in all aspects. There is currently no need for anti-trust action against anyone.

The difference is that there was never any validity to Adobe's claims against Apple.

There ARE, however, legitimate concerns about Adobe's monopoly position in web advertising.
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post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

There ARE, however, legitimate concerns about Adobe's monopoly position in web advertising.

Didn't realize that Adobe was in the advertising biz.
post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

There ARE, however, legitimate concerns about [Google]'s monopoly position in web advertising.

Looking at iAd and Apple's position in the market I agree with the FTC that Apple has a chance of being a major player here. While I'm sure they will be keeping an eye on Google I can't see any anti-trust maneuvering at this point. Perhaps something less than their silly "do no evil" motto but certainly well within legal business practices.
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post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Looking at iAd and Apple's position in the market I agree with the FTC that Apple has a chance of being a major player here. While I'm sure they will be keeping an eye on Google I can't see any anti-trust maneuvering at this point. Perhaps something less than their silly "do no evil" motto but certainly well within legal business practices.

Yup -- the market is evolving very quickly and I think Apple is a very credible competitor. Plus Microsoft is waiting in the wings, and even though they are incredibly late to the party, I'm sure they will have an ad component to their mobile strategy, and I think their mobile strategy isn't the completely lost cause that it might appear (just because IT loves MS the way Homer loves donuts).
post #22 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

That is one of the most amazing thing about today's marketplace. Vaporware is just as good as the real thing.

Google was able to use vaporware to convince the FTC that there is competition in the market today.

[snip]

Didn't Google show off working concepts of the AdMob ads at the keynote?
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post #23 of 58
LOL now I feel bad for Microsoft.
They were call a monopoly because they had like 98% of market share.

Now Google gets away with it by just having a non-existence "competitor".
post #24 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'd wager Google is putting a thorn in Apple's side. Google is so quick to overpay for a company that Apple can't come in and lowball them anymore. That would piss me off.

I wonder, though, if it's possible that Apple already had their eye on Quattro, considering how quickly they scooped it up after losing AdMob. They could have forced Google to pay that premium by planting that seed in the minds of Google's higher-ups that they needed to "snatch" AdMob away.
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihxo View Post

LOL now I feel bad for Microsoft.
They were call a monopoly because they had like 98% of market share.

Now Google gets away with it by just having a non-existence "competitor".

There is nothing wrong with being a monopoly. There is something wrong with using that position to illegally hurt competition. So far, Google doesn't look to be going down the same road MS did which led to their anti-trust case.
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post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihxo View Post

LOL now I feel bad for Microsoft.
They were call a monopoly because they had like 98% of market share.

Now Google gets away with it by just having a non-existence "competitor".

What market does Google have 98% market share in?
post #27 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post

Didn't Google show off working concepts of the AdMob ads at the keynote?

I think he was referring to the vaporware of iAds. Google was able to convince to FTC that Apple was already a credible competitor before the market could see how it was competing with the incumbent AdMob. AdMob has already been in the market successfully.

I also don't see how a good competitor on one platform translates to healthy competition across the whole mobile space. Or is iAds suppose to launch for other mobile platforms as well?
post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

I wonder, though, if it's possible that Apple already had their eye on Quattro, considering how quickly they scooped it up after losing AdMob. They could have forced Google to pay that premium by planting that seed in the minds of Google's higher-ups that they needed to "snatch" AdMob away.

I thought of that. It's good to have a backup plan, to use misdirection in negotiations (which I think Apple has been doing for years now with a Verizon iPhone to get a better deal with AT&T) and get your competition to over extend themselves, but I haven't seen anything to lead 'me' to conclude that as a viable hypothesis with the AdMob/Quattro purchases.
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post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

Google has way more.

Apple total count: 28
Apple in the past 3 years: 6
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...tions_by_Apple

Google total count: 68
Google in the past 3 years: 33
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ions_by_Google

Google has done more in the past 3 years than Apple in totality.

I seem to remember a fairy-tale about that...
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There is nothing wrong with being a monopoly. There is something wrong with using that position to illegally hurt competition. So far, Google doesn't look to be going down the same road MS did which led to their anti-trust case.

The problem is that they seem to use their near monopoly in search and the revenue it brings to bring disruptive change to other markets. When you can offer a free version of something because your business model is based off of taking advantage of it to feed your cash generators, your competitors can't compete on equal terms. Reminds me of other browser vendors trying to compete with a free Internet Explorer.

Google seems to like saying that open technologies will always win out in the market while glossing over the fact that their open solutions are usually free and that their revenue comes from technologies that are not open in the slightest. I like a lot of what Google does, but their BS rhetoric just turns my stomach.
post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macadamias View Post

The problem is that they seem to use their near monopoly in search and the revenue it brings to bring disruptive change to other markets. When you can offer a free version of something because your business model is based off of taking advantage of it to feed your cash generators, your competitors can't compete on equal terms. Reminds me of other browser vendors trying to compete with a free Internet Explorer.

Google seems to like saying that open technologies will always win out in the market while glossing over the fact that their open solutions are usually free and that their revenue comes from technologies that are not open in the slightest. I like a lot of what Google does, but their BS rhetoric just turns my stomach.

But Google started their search as free and all the popular searches at the time were free. Google was just better at it and won a legal monopoly. What MS did with IE to crush Netscape wasn't legal.
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post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

What market does Google have 98% market share in?

pretty safe to say that they have more than 98% of mobile ads market share.

Not sure about online ads though, but after buying doubleclick, I am pretty sure they are in a VERY dominant position also.
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

But Google started their search as free and all the popular searches at the time were free. Google was just better at it and won a legal monopoly. What MS did with IE to crush Netscape wasn't legal.

I think he's referring to Google's forays into areas other than search, dumping free products on the market to starve out the competition, as much or more than to monetize them, and being able to do so because of their search ad revenue.
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

But Google started their search as free and all the popular searches at the time were free. Google was just better at it and won a legal monopoly. What MS did with IE to crush Netscape wasn't legal.

I'm not implying that Google did anything illegal to become a monopoly. And search may be free, but their revenue is based off advertising and it's engine is their search. And the free offerings I'm referring to are of course Android, and their suite of Google Apps, and navigation among others. I was simply pointing out that their free offerings forces the existing competitors in the markets they enter to change their business models. Because now they are competing with free and they can't take advantage of Google's model to do so. Maybe IE was a bad example for this.

I readily admit that I like using what they provide for free. But I do think that there is a cost, and some of that cost is in it's competition. And once they have something out there and it becomes popular, they may just stop innovating. I still find Gmail and Google Docs to be severely lacking in basic important features, but they don't seem interested in doing anything to really build it up.

I also am finding their rhetoric to be bullying and arrogant lately. I just don't respect them as a company as much as I used to. Their workers are all still top notch, I don't like their leadership. They are scaring me. But that's just my opinion.
post #35 of 58
Let me get this straight. A company (Google) that already dominates the ad market buys up a competitor to become even more dominant. This is okay because there is a newbie start-up ad company (Apple). Looks the like FTC is a ball-less as the former Wall Street regulators. Time for Obama to clean another house.
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post #36 of 58
When was the last time Apple didn't deliver an announced product on time or within reasonable timeframe. Put another way, is there anything that was promised from Apple that is so late we are left wondering if it will ever arrive? MobileMe and Push we reasonable delays and they did deliver. Apple investors have higher expectations than a few other companies that come to mind. iAd will arrive - and sooner than later. I think the FTC either know that from Apple's excellent track record or Apple has shared a timeline. It's certian enough that Google is running scared. And yes, the AdMob deal was staged to drive up the price. Google knew it but really had no choice. I think Quattro was a better fit with it's list of clients at the upper end of the spectrum. Google has the ad volumes it was looking for.
post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillac88 View Post

When was the last time Apple didn't deliver an announced product on time or within reasonable timeframe. Put another way, is there anything that was promised from Apple that is so late we are left wondering if it will ever arrive? MobileMe and Push we reasonable delays and they did deliver. Apple investors have higher expectations than a few other companies that come to mind. iAd will arrive - and sooner than later. I think the FTC either know that from Apple's excellent track record or Apple has shared a timeline. It's certian enough that Google is running scared. And yes, the AdMob deal was staged to drive up the price. Google knew it but really had no choice. I think Quattro was a better fit with it's list of clients at the upper end of the spectrum. Google has the ad volumes it was looking for.

I think it's being referred to as "vaporware" simply because it's not in the market yet so it would be hard to see how it would affect that market. It's also ONLY on the iPhone so seems to be a strange reason to be convinced that Google has enough competition in the whole mobile space. Especially since Google thinks of the iPhone as only third or fourth best now.
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Let me get this straight. A company (Google) that already dominates the ad market buys up a competitor to become even more dominant. This is okay because there is a newbie start-up ad company (Apple). Looks the like FTC is a ball-less as the former Wall Street regulators. Time for Obama to clean another house.

Yep. AND only available on the iPhone. Competition in one corner. A beautiful walled garden in that corner, but still...
post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

I think he's referring to Google's forays into areas other than search, dumping free products on the market to starve out the competition, as much or more than to monetize them, and being able to do so because of their search ad revenue.

If Google was ever to become a convicted monopolist like Microsoft, then their behaviour of using a monopoly in one market (say advertising or search) to choke other markets by offering "free" products would certainly cause them problems.
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

Google is starting to scare me with all the stuff they're doing. TV, phones, search, desktop OS, music store, advertising, blogging, video (YouTube), VoIP, social networking, photo sharing and editing (Picasa), office suite, GPS, web browser, iTunes syncing--it's all a bit big. All their acquisitions are worrisome to me as well, as they are buying all the great small companies and hiding and holding them for their use only (I understand Apple does this too, but Google has quite a few more buy-outs). Google is growing so large so fast, I can only guess at where they'll be in 2 years.

Have no fear, Google turns everything it touches into mediocrity. The fact that it will compete with Apple is a very good thing in this case.
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