No Antitrust Scrutiny for Google-AdMob Deal

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-11-11 Print this article Print

Moreover, Google just doesn't have the dominance in mobile that it does online, Boland said. The mobile ad market is too young and fragmented, with vendors focusing on different areas such as mobile search, mobile display or in-app ads.

"While it's definitely growing and ramping, the mobile ad market is not currently big enough to consider that Google is applying a monopolistic pressure," Greystripe CEO Michael Chang told eWEEK. "Also, there is enough fragmentation-not only enough ad networks but enough media companies themselves in terms of selling their own mobile ads."

Chang feels it's still anyone's game, and added that Google was smart in pointing out buys by AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft in the AdMob Website it launched.

Still, on the day of the launch, Steven Burke on Channel Web turned Google's AdMob site against the company and wrote a harsh indictment of the deal, imploring the DOJ to step in:

"Google is right. There are more than a dozen mobile ad networks in the U.S. with companies like Quattro Wireless, Millennial and JumpTap. What do you think will become of those healthy competitors when the company that has a virtual stranglehold on the online search advertising market uses all its might and muscle to shut mobile advertising display competitors down? The smartphone and mobile advertising market is just developing. We don't need a monopoly ad power player coming in and wreaking havoc on an industry that is still in its infancy."

Yet leadership at Millennial and JumpTap roundly praised the deal in public statements. They don't seem to mind that Google will double up market share on them. Why is that? IDC's Weide had a theory: They are preparing for big paydays.

Weide said Yahoo showed interest in Millennial and Quattro a year ago, but the recession hit, squashing those deals. He talked to executives at both companies about the Google-AdMob deals, and both were very excited. And why not? Weide believes Google is paying 10 times what AdMob's annual revenue was.

Moreover, these deals tend to happen in bunches. Expect Yahoo, Microsoft and/or others to follow by snapping up some of the other attractive mobile ad startups.

But how long will these vendors wait to buy mobile ad providers and how much of a mobile ad lead will Google have by that time? Will Google be able to cultivate a mobile ad monopoly, as Burke said?



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