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The curious case of Google acquiring AdMob

“On November 9, 2009 Google announced an agreement to acquire AdMob, a mobile display ad technology provider, for $750 million. This acquisition will enhance Google's existing expertise and technology in mobile advertising, while also giving advertisers and publishers more choice in this growing new area.”

moBistro Google AdMob
“Mobile advertising is a rapidly growing and competitive space, and Google and AdMob are currently specializing in different areas. Though Google offers many forms of mobile advertising, its focus to date has been on mobile search ads, while AdMob's focus has been mobile display ads and in-application ads.”

These two statements are taken directly from Google’s press release. Sounds like the perfect fit. For Google, it is. For developers, advertisers and end-users, one can argue the case either way

For those of you who don’t know Google or AdMob, here’s a quick primer:
Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is the largest search engine in the world garnering about 60% of search traffic. Headquartered in Mountainview, CA, it processes millions of search request every day and about 1 petabyte of user-generated data every hour (1 petabyte = 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes).
AdMob (now owned by Google) is the world’s largest mobile advertising platform serving more than 10+ billion mobile banner and text advertisements per month (October, 2009) on mobile websites and mobile apps.


With this acquisition, it is apparent that Google thinks that mobile technology is ready for prime-time. Already, there are about 4 billion mobile devices on the planet; that’s about 4 times the number of desktops or the number of cars. Granted that only a fraction of these 4 billion are Smartphones, but the Smartphone market’s product diffusion curve is only beginning (Google “product diffusion curve” for more info).

The AdMob acquisition has a curious nuance to it.

In July, 2005, Google acquired Android, Inc. Android is a mobile operating system competing directly with Apple, Blackberry, Palm, Symbian and Windows (of course, moBistro is compatible with all of the above). The mobile operating system war has only seen a couple of chapters. Over the past year-and-a-half, most of the focus has been on Apple’s iPhone and iPhone apps. According to AdMob’s October, 2009 report, Apple (iPhone and iPod Touch) had the biggest slice of the pie at 32.1% of ad requests worldwide. In the US, Apple’s share of the pie was at 35.5%.

The past few months have seen the competition get a little fiercer. A few new Android phones have been introduced (you may have seen the “Android Does” Verizon ads on TV). Blackberry has also wised up and launched their version of the app store. Palm too has started to make some noise with its Palm Pre device. Microsoft and Nokia have announced plans (yawn).

Food for thought.

So what’s next? Now that Google owns AdMob, will they be unbiased in forging ahead with ubiquitous technologies, or will they favor the Android platform? Over the past couple of months, AdMob has made no secrets that they are “bullish on the Android platform.” Is this coincidence, or is it just showing ownership bias? You can argue it either way. After all, with multiple phones and multiple networks now using Android, it has certainly started to capture some of the market share.

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