Commentary

Google's AdMob Deal Gets More Help From Verizon

Verizon Developer Community

It looks like Google may have gotten a bit of help from Verizon Wireless in its quest to snag AdMob. Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the Federal Trade Commission received a two-week extension for its review of Google's $750 million purchase of AdMob so it could have more time to analyze the impact of Apple's acquisition of rival ad network Quattro Wireless and its subsequent unveiling of the iAd platform.

Google has strenuously highlighted Apple's push into mobile advertising and its introduction of iAd as the best evidence yet of robust competition in the emerging sector. The FTC has reportedly been leaning toward blocking the Google-AdMob deal on the grounds that it would reduce competition in the budding mobile ad market.

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But now Google may be able to point to another new source of competition in the mobile ad space. Verizon this week announced a new program allowing developers to monetize applications distributed through its own app storefront with advertising. Under the initiative, developers would be able to monetize apps using Microsoft's Bing search engine or AdMarvel, which aggregates ads from multiple ad networks.

Verizon already has a long-term mobile advertising and search deal with Microsoft that provides the framework for allowing developers to embed the Bing search box into its V Cast Apps. Both new ad options from Verizon would potentially give developers more reason to create apps for the carrier's system rather than Apple or another mobile platform.

So Google might argue in turn that the new Verizon ad program signals yet more competition in mobile advertising, and from giant players like the nation's No. 1 wireless operator and Microsoft. Whether the rollout of Verizon's Advertising Development Center will have any bearing on the FTC's thinking on whether to oppose Google's purchase of AdMob is hard to say -- probably not much at this stage.

But it does underscore the rapidly changing dynamic of the mobile ad landscape and the mobile industry overall. During the OMMA Mobile 2010 conference on Wednesday, Michael Gartenberg, a partner at digital strategy firm Altimeter Group, said things in the mobile business are not changing every 18 months, but "every 18 minutes." That understanding of a rapidly evolving landscape could also work in Google's favor.

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