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FTC Makes Difficult Decision to Clear Google-AdMob Deal

In what was deemed a ‘difficult decision’ the FTC has let Google clear the regulatory hurdle needed to OK the purchase of AdMob. One of the unlikely thank you notes that Google can send out in getting this decision is to Apple since the FTC their acquisition of Quattro Wireless and the introduction of iAd as two factors that exhibited sufficient competition to Google in this space.

MediaPost reports

While the commission said in its closing letter that the deal required “close scrutiny,” the FTC ultimately found that Apple’s entry into the market offers “reason to believe that Apple quickly will become a strong mobile advertising network competitor.”

The letter states: “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.”

AdMob said in a statement that it is “extremely pleased” with the FTC’s position. “Our focus is now on working with the team at Google to quickly close the deal,” the company said.

I have a mental picture of Google representatives and legal eagles hearing the decision and quickly stuffing their briefcases with everything to get to the exits ASAP before someone changed their mind.

Of course, this is just the beginning because there will still be considerable scrutiny on Google and other players in this new space moving forward due to privacy concerns. The talk of Google’s ability to set up “super data profiles” is at the root of the concern that this deal has created.

The advocacy groups Center for Digital Democracy and Consumer Watchdog had opposed the deal on privacy grounds, arguing that it would leave Google with the ability to create “super data profiles” by combining information about users’ search activity with AdMob’s data about mobile users.

It appears as if other folks in the industry have chosen to take the high road rather than gripe about what Google can now do with this deal getting the green light. Instead of crying foul they have decided to say that this decision is validation for the industry that eMarketer pegs at $593 million in mobile ad spending this year with the number ballooning to $1.56 billion by 2013.

“Google’s acquisition of AdMob is a great validation of the mobile advertising space, specifically the focus on in-application, which is the dominant reason for the acquisition,” said Michael Chang, CEO of mobile ad network Greystripe.

Those kinds of numbers leave room for several players to get in and make good money. Not everyone needs to make “Google Bucks” to be successful and it might the best policy to get in the tank with the big sharks, behave well and there will be plenty of food for everyone.

Your take?