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FTC nod positions Google for mobile ad revenues.

US regulators gave search-giant Google the green light on Friday to buy mobile ad-provider AdMob, giving the company further reach into advertising spaces beyond the personal computer.

Citing developments from Google's friend-turned-competitor, the US Federal Trade Commission said that Apple's recent moves in the mobile ad space overshadow Google's purchase.

"Although 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 Computer Inc. -- the maker of the iPhone -- to launch its own, competing mobile ad network," the commission said in a statement.

"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," it said.

Apple bought the online mobile ad leader, Quattro Wireless for an undisclosed amount in January. But the increased competition hasn't stopped Google from moving aggressively.

In addition to the $750 million Admob deal, the company launched its own phone, the Nexus One, to much fanfare late last year. The firm is also spreading its Android mobile smartphone software through devices made by other manufacturers.

The software is shipping on 7 percent of mobile platforms according to IDC, shy of Apple's 12 percent, and a far cry from RIM's 42 percent. But growth for the OS is projected to rise by as much as 3 percent by 2012, making it the fastest growing smart phone software.

"Mobile Internet is the single biggest new opportunity for Google," said Sandeep Aggarwal of Caris and Company.  "If Google can generate just $1.00 in ad revenue per mobile handset in the installed base by 2013, mobile Internet advertising can be a $4bn opportunity for Google."

Google has already established its roots on the PC-based Internet, serving up advertisements next to search results, and giving contextual advertising on websites. Now nearly 93 percent of the company's revenue derives from search.

The clearance also comes a day after Google unveiled a new "Google TV" giving the firm headway into a $150 billion market.


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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:May 21, 2010
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