updated 03:45 pm EST, Mon November 9, 2009
Largest iPhone ad firm in Google's camp
Google today said it has bought mobile advertising house AdMob for $750 million. The deal gives Google control of what's considered the single largest advertiser on phones and is characterized as helping to better monetize the ads that reach platforms like Android and the iPhone. Giving AdMob the extra support should help fund the mobile web by improving the effectiveness of ads in apps and mobile-optimized websites, according to the search engine giant.
AdMob founder Omar Hamoui describes the deal as amicable and credits the iPhone for making mobile advertising possible. Before the 2007 introduction of the device, the executive says, mobile ads were almost invariably tied to specific carrier or device deals and rarely got significant results. The iPhone's better web browsing and later its app platform are believed to have legitimized mobile ads and let AdMob work on BlackBerry, Symbian and other areas that were normally off-limits in the past.
"Apple solved so many problems that had plagued mobile for so long," Hamoui explains. "They showed all of us the way forward and their efforts have led to a landslide of rapid improvements in our space."
Despite the deal now giving AdMob an incentive to prioritize for Android, it's not expected to significantly affect Google's bias in mobile ads. The latter regularly optimizes its web ads for the iPhone and other specific platforms. Were it to quit the iPhone, it would also leave the door open to competitors like The Deck that already service some key iPhone apps, such as Twitteriffic.