Since Google announced its acquisition of AdMob six months ago, the companies have face opposition. First consumer groups eyed the deal—then the FTC started taking statements from other companies in the industry. Now, it looks like the FTC is gearing up for even more scrutiny.
Of course, it may not have a whole lot to do with the US federal government’s deep-rooted concern for the mobile advertising industry. Reports AllThingsD:
“The federal government is looking for a way to discipline Google in some way, because of larger concerns about its search power on the Web,” said one source. “And this is where it looks like it will try to show that concern.”
Both AdMob and Google are preparing for the federal fight—but according to Kara Swisher’s interview with AdMob Founder/CEO Omar Hamoui, AdMob is in the worst possible position. The federal scrutiny of the deal is delaying the actual merger, and the company “has no currency now to offer engineers.” They can’t raise outside funds with the deal still pending, but they have yet to get the cash from Google. Meanwhile, they’re also caught between Apple and Google:
In addition, first pointed out by MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka, since Apple lost out on its attempt to buy AdMob to Google, [Hamoui is] also facing a less-than-cooperative company whose iPhone has been one of AdMob’s key devices to place ads on.
And Apple recently issued some new rules–thus far, unenforced–that could hurt AdMob’s ability to take advantage of the powerful iPhone smartphone platform.
Although a recent report says Google + AdMob = only 21% of the market, the FTC looks likely to act against the deal in the next two weeks.
What do you think? Will the FTC block the deal, or file in an antitrust proceeding? Or will Google & AdMob ultimately prevail?