FTC to Google: Go Ahead and Buy AdMob

Apple Inc. has given archrival Google Inc. a (likely unintended) business boost.

The Federal Trade Commission on Friday said Google’s pending acquisition of AdMob won’t harm mobile advertising competition, citing Apple’s similar purchase of Quattro Wireless as the reason why. The agency did say a Google-AdMob combination still raises “serious antitrust issues” but Apple’s move to “launch its own, competing mobile ad network” justified approval.

The FTC will, however, “continue to monitor the mobile marketplace to ensure a competitive environment and to protect the interests of consumers,” the agency said in a prepared statement.

Google praised the decision and said it will keep working to close the $750-million-in-stock AdMob transaction over the next few weeks.

The Internet giant announced last November it would buy AdMob, to provide another mobility edge. With Android, Google’s operating system, running on new devices such as the Motorola Droid, AdMob’s technology will push Google’s online ad expertise into the mobile world.

The benefits span different sectors. For example, Google expects advertisers to be “better able to engage mobile users” with AdMob’s ad formats. Publishers and developers also should have an easier time monetizing their content, which Google predicts will help the “wider mobile ecosystem.” Finally, Google said, users will see “more relevant ads” that deliver useful information.

The AdMob acquisition comes as mobile search demand has grown five-fold over the past two years, executives Susan Wojcicki and Vic Gundotra wrote in Google’s blog late last year.

iPhone maker Apple, meanwhile, decided to buy Quattro Wireless after learning of Google’s AdMob purchase.

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