Apple bought mobile ad network Quattro Wireless. Quattro confirmed the purchase, which AllThingsDigital said was worth $275 million. The deal could accelerate the growing war between Apple and Google, friends quickly turned enemies in the pitched battle for the mobile Web. Chris Dixon, co-founder of decision engine Hunch and an investor in multiple properties, argued that Apple's interest in Quattro must be about ads in mobile apps.
Apple has acquired mobile ad network Quattro Wireless in
a deal worth a reported $275 million, or roughly one third of what Google bid
to buy mobile ad provider AdMob.
Andy Miller, formerly Quattro CEO and co-founder but now
Apple's vice president of mobile advertising, confirmed the acquisition in a brief blog post
, where he noted:
"We are thrilled to let you know that Apple has
acquired Quattro. We have built our business by enabling
advertisers to reach the right consumers across the mobile Web and in
applications. We remain focused on delivering more engaging, relevant
and useful ads to mobile devices, and improving the measurement and execution
of digital campaigns. Together with Apple, we look forward to developing
exciting new opportunities in the future that will benefit our customers."
Apple declined to respond to eWEEK's request for comments on the deal, which was first reported
Jan. 4 by AllThingsDigital.
The deal could accelerate the growing war
between Apple and Google, friends quickly turned enemies in the pitched battle
for the mobile Web. Apple makes the popular iPhone smartphone, which has sold
tens of millions of units.
Google makes the Android operating system for mobile
devices, including smartphones, and is expected to launch
its own Android smartphone today.
This Nexus One, reviewed in detail
by Engadget, is speedy and
elegant. Some who have used it say the Nexus One compares favorably
to the iPhone.
But even though Android is playing on the iPhone's turf,
Apple and Google have danced the dance of frenemies to this point. Apple's iPhone supports
some Google applications, such as Google Maps and search, but forces others,
such as Google Latitude
and Google Voice
not yet) to run as Web apps, distant cousins to the native apps on smartphones
because they won't work without Internet connections.
This battlefront is clearly broadening to mobile ads, or
at least the information Google and Apple can glean through placing mobile ads
on applications. Google moved to buy AdMob
, a successful provider for
mobile display ads within iPhone applications, for $750 million.
This deal is being looked over
by the Federal Trade
Commission, which has antitrust concerns despite the fact that Google and
AdMob together would account for only 24 percent of mobile ad sales, according to statistics from IDC
The Wall Street Journal said in December that Apple
tried to buy AdMob
which houses a lot of data about iPhone apps and the iPhone App Store that could be very
useful to Google. The impetus behind Apple's bid seemed to be to block Google
from gaining an asset that has collected a lot of information about the iPhone
What will Quattro, which IDC said commanded 7 percent of
the mobile ad revenue in 2009, offer Apple?
Chris Dixon, co-founder of decision
engine Hunch and an investor in multiple properties, argued that Apple's
interest in Quattro must be about ads in mobile apps. He noted that while Apple
tightly controls its iPhone app platform, Google could threaten Apple even on
ads in iPhone apps. Dixon added
"Unless Apple forced developers to use their ad
network, iPhone app developers would select the ad network that provided the
highest payouts, which - as with all ad networks - would depend heavily on
which had the most advertisers. So the Quattro purchase seems to be mostly
about Apple getting a base of mobile advertisers (not publishers) that will
allow them to offer competitive payouts on mobile app ads (not mobile
Meanwhile, new Apple employee Miller promised that Quattro
will continue to operate the Quattro Wireless network across all devices and
platforms and that customers should not expect changes in their products and