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FTC Greenlights Google-AdMob Deal 42

Posted by timothy
from the this-gps-location-brought-to-you-by dept.
coondoggie writes "The Federal Trade Commission today said it closed the investigation of the proposed $750 million Google acquisition of mobile advertising network company AdMob. The FTC said that while 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 to launch its own, competing mobile ad network."
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FTC Greenlights Google-AdMob Deal

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  • I mean why have the laws if everyone is doing it anyway?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sarten-X (1102295)
      If everyone is doing it in the same market, then it's not a monopoly, and not a problem.
      • It seems to me, though, that there is no merger/acquisition that the government won't approve if it's Google. Almost the complete opposite of MS.

        • by maxume (22995)

          It isn't all that inconsistent. An advertising network with a few dozen advertisers and a few dozen content providers is probably viable. A consumer operating system with a few thousand users is probably a joke.

          • It isn't all that inconsistent. An advertising network with a few dozen advertisers and a few dozen content providers is probably viable.

            Agreed whole-heartedly, but Google already has AdSense and Doubleclick.net I don't see why they can't just branch out without buying a competitor. Are they afraid of the competition?

            A consumer operating system with a few thousand users is probably a joke.

            I could insert jokes, but I think my first comment (the GP in this case) is going to get modded down pretty quickly as it is. I just want to say I think that comparison is apples and oranges.

            A more appropriate one would be where MS buys up work-a-like competition just to take them out of the game (and grab their patent portfolios) in order to establish a monopoly. Sort of similar to what it looks like Google is trying to do, except in the web space and not the desktop space. For some reason MS wants to play in both spaces, too; that is neither here nor there, though.

            This is how I see it, to be less confusing (I hope):

            Google is dominating the web space, others are trying to play catch-up (which is pathetic for a portal like Yahoo which has been around longer). MS is also trying to do the same, but also be dominant in the desktop space too. The only competition Google offers there is Docs and Wave.

            Where as MS is dominating the desktop space and doing so by attempting to establish (again) a trust/monopoly in every part of the market. It has the money to make a good run at it. Right now it's skirting the law (and I'd be willing to bet they are lobbying hard to get the law changed).

            Every purchase Google makes to make itself more dominant in the web market is pretty much approved, despite the lowering of competition and raising the bar to entry for start-ups. Exactly the same thing MS has been doing for what, almost 3 decades now (and possibly longer)? So why is Google getting special treatment? Because they have a motto that says "Do no evil?"(TM)? Bah, I say. Either the rules are equally applied to all, or they are completely removed from the game. Period.

            • by maxume (22995)

              What I was getting at is that it isn't so clear that Google can actually raise the bar for new competitors.

              • Are you kidding me? They have MS style weight in the web market.

                • by brainboyz (114458)

                  Exactly, the bar is already so high it can't get much higher.

                • Are you kidding me? They have MS style weight in the web market.

                  No, they don't. In the thing they dominate -- online searches (which isn't a market, because its not something that is sold) -- their share, while substantial at ~70%, isn't as great as Microsoft's desktop OS share (which is a market).

                  As far as markets, they have a majority of search advertising (but, again, substantially less than Microsoft has very desktop OSes), a large minority of online advertising, a large minority of mobile advertising,

            • Agreed whole-heartedly, but Google already has AdSense and Doubleclick.net I don't see why they can't just branch out without buying a competitor. Are they afraid of the competition?

              Isn't all business?

              • I guess. I would I say I personally welcome it, but I can't even find work right now, much less run my own business. *shrugs*

                • No doubt, though this kind of situation is when it's usually easiest to become self-employed.
                  • If I had the money to further my skills to where they need to be NOW, I wouldn't have a problem. As a web designer, I'm about 5 years behind the times and without a major influx of books, at the very least, I'll probably stay there for the foreseeable future. Heck, getting used to xhtml (I spent relatively little time with HTML4.01 before hitting XHTML) was difficult enough, now I have HTML5? Ugh, I almost don't want to bother with it.

                    And don't get me started with ADA requirements and the like. It's enough

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            A consumer operating system with a few thousand users is probably a joke.

            It depends on your definition of "consumer".

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          It seems to me, though, that there is no merger/acquisition that the government won't approve if it's Google.

          What was the last "merger/acquisition" that this corporatist government didn't approve?

        • It seems to me, though, that there is no merger/acquisition that the government won't approve if it's Google.

          There are very few mergers/acquisitions that the government even investigates for antitrust concerns, no matter who is involved, and even fewer that they reject.

          So Google's not at all special in that regard.

          Almost the complete opposite of MS.

          How so? Microsoft buys companies all the time without the government blocking them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by clarkkent09 (1104833) *
        It depends on how you define the market. If the market in question is "advertising" or even "online advertising" (as opposed to "mobile advertising" as is the case here) then it is absolutely clear that google does not have anything like a monopoly. The narrower your definition of a market the more monopolies you can find. What's so special about having a dominant position in mobile advertising that every other form of advertising out there would not be considered to be in competition with you?
        • To be honest, I never even thought there was a market for mobile advertising. Except on the smart-phones, the screen real estate is too precious to give over to ads. Content is more important, and if it's on a mobile I'm more willing to pay for it than if I am on a netbook on up.

          • by Drakonik (1193977)

            Content is more important to you. To the companies providing the content, however, money made off your intake of the content is worth the sacrifice of screen real estate.

  • I'll bet the people at Apple are kicking themselves now for jumping into the ad market so soon. Had they been less greedy, it would have held their big competitor at bay to some extent.
    • by Anpheus (908711)

      What do you mean bar? The iPhone developer agreement will prohibit developers from using any advertising or analytics service other than Apple, and it's incredibly unlikely Apple will make their service available to Android, Windows Mobile/Phone, Symbian, BlackBerry, etc.

      The i* platform is all about creating illusory markets. They aren't really markets in that Apple will always win on the i* platform, and if some particular service becomes popular, for example, a marketplace for in-app purchases, they will

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        [citation needed]

        There is no evidence that Apple will stop developers rolling their own ad services (as they are currently doing on the app store). Where does it say that they will? Proof please, before you start using those assertions as facts about Apple's motives.

        • Perhaps you could provide arguments to the contrary? Seeing as how you must be more familiar with Apple's practices and motives than I am, do you have any evidence for your position that we're not aware of?
          • by jo_ham (604554)

            * Their stated position of supporting HTML5 (as a genuine alternative to flash, rather than some custom Apple-only solution). Why do this if it gives an alternative ad-delivery platform if you want to restrict it to your own solution only?

            * The announcement of the new Ad service as an additional feature, and the new restrictions on language - if they are going to restrict the way you can deliver ads, why not mention it at the launch? They clearly have no problem addressing it for other parts. (this is obvio

            • by Anpheus (908711)

              The i* Dev Agreement says that any analytics service other than Apple's is prohibited and collection of user's data must occur through the iAd framework, even if you're displaying no ads.

              But AdMob and other services don't work if there's no usage information. Google would be flying blind in trying to assign values to apps and determine "touch-through" rates.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Here you go (Section 3.3.9 of the new developer agreement): http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/04/with-new-developer-agreement-apple-unlevels-the-iad-playing-field/ [wired.com] - whilst it dosn't *explicitly* ban developers from using competing ad networks - it does mean that if you want *any* usage data about your app - you must use iAd - which for any developer who wants feedback makes using iAd a must. FTA:

          "An ad network such as AdMob (a Google acquisition target) would clearly fall under the third-party catego

    • I'll bet the people at Apple are kicking themselves now for jumping into the ad market so soon. Had they been less greedy, it would have held their big competitor at bay to some extent.

      They may have kept Google from moving forward with AdMob for a little while longer, but it would also have kept Apple from getting iAd up and running for the same amount of time. iAd isn't competing with anyone else on the iPlatform so the sooner Apple starts taking their % of the ad revenue the sooner they take it to the bank.

  • Seems silly to cite iAd as a competitor when it will literally only ever be allowed on iPhones where in Googles case they will push add on any and every phone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tlhIngan (30335)

      Seems silly to cite iAd as a competitor when it will literally only ever be allowed on iPhones where in Googles case they will push add on any and every phone.

      Not to mention, if you want to do an iAd, you have to use HTML5. Because of the way Jobs spurned Adobe, Adobe's busy trying to put Flash on every other phone out there, and it's coming on Android 2.2. If you're a marketing agency, and already have a whole slew of Flash ads running on DoubleClick, would you want to recode your ad for HTML5 for the iPho

  • This decision... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VTI9600 (1143169) on Friday May 21, 2010 @10:50PM (#32302426)

    ...should have been fairly obvious considering how the FTC approved the far more questionable acquisition of Doubleclick three years ago. They approved that one on the basis that competition would not be hurt since Google and Doubleclick were not technically in competition with each other. The companies were, nevertheless, placing ads in the same browser windows which brought up issues of consumer privacy...issues which were promptly ignored because, again, there was no threat to competition.

    In this case we're dealing with a mobile advertiser merging with (until now) a primarily non-mobile advertiser. Again, no question about killing competition, and a much smaller price tag ($750M versus $3.1B) to boot. I'm not sure what type of consumer protection/privacy issues could be raised, but that's really not the question here.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by timmarhy (659436)
      do the FTC take into account how is it is to switch ad providers though? even if google owned 99.9% of the online ad market, what's stopping someone comming in and under cutting them? it's dead easy to switch out ad words for another ad provider, as long as google wasn't threatening or bullying anyone trying to compete i say more power to them.
    • by yuhong (1378501)
      Yea, anti-trust laws are about competition, not privacy.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      It's hard for me to be rational about doubleclick, since I hated it so much and google has reigned it in. (But I guess if I were buying ads, I would be wondering if google's dominance makes them too expensive).

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