Apple was the unwitting spur that prompted US competition authorities to clear rival Google’s purchase of mobile advertising firm AdMob on Friday.
The Federal Trade Commission unanimously approved Google’s $750 million (€599 million) acquisition because Apple launched a rival mobile advertising service during the course of its investigation, and because a number of other companies plan to launch platforms rivaling Google and Apple in the coming months.
“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 FTC stated.
It also noted that Google would be unlikely to restrict AdMob’s activities on its Android smartphone platform, as doing so could hinder development of the operating system.
“Android and iPhone compete against each other as platforms, and the availability of free or low-cost applications helps drive that competition. Thus, Google has a strong incentive to encourage the development of applications on Android to maintain the competitiveness of Android against the iPhone.”
Google CEO Eric Schmidt last week claimed the investigation had put AdMob at a disadvantage and vowed to fight “very hard” if it was blocked, Reuters reported.
The decision could cause some chagrin at Apple, which plumped for third-placed mobile ad firm Quattro in December after a bid for AdMob was knocked back.
If it hadn’t bought Quattro, Google’s deal may not have gained the FTC’s unanimous backing.