updated 09:25 am EST, Tue January 5, 2010
Gives Apple access to mobile advertising
(Updated with Quattro confirmation) Apple will soon announce an acquisition of Quattro Wireless, "several sources" are said to have confirmed. The purchase could be officially revealed later today, and be worth approximately $275 million. Quattro specializes in mobile advertising, and has a number of high-profile clients including Disney, Ford and the NFL.
The acquisition is almost certainly tied into plans for the iPhone, and should give Apple a greater portion of the revenue produced through apps and websites loaded on the device. Many nominally "free" iPhone apps are in fact ad-supported. Such money could in theory make Apple less dependent on carrier subsidies for income, valued at several hundred dollars per phone.
Acquiring Quattro would also put Apple into closer competition with Google, which recently agreed to pay $750 million for AdMob, another mobile advertiser. That deal is under FTC scrutiny however, as a result of worries about antitrust laws. Apple could potentially face deeper probing, as it exercises even tighter control over its platform by locking down both the iPhone OS and the App Store.
Update: Quattro CEO Andy Miller has confirmed the acquisition. The executive will leave his former title behind, becoming the VP of Mobile Advertising at Apple. For the time being, the Quattro network will continue to operate as usual, with the same client and support teams.