updated 05:50 pm EDT, Wed April 7, 2010
FTC believes AdMob deal anti-competitive
The FTC is now likely to vote against Google's buyout of AdMob, a source said Wednesday. Once undecided about the deal, the agency is now said by an unnamed Reuters source to see a "significant competitive problem" and could sue Google for its behavior. Talks are still underway with Google and may head off the threat, but progress if any isn't certain.
Previously, the FTC was already rumored to be mustering a legal team in the event it feels the need to prosecute Google. Any legal case would still have to get approval from both commissioners and the head of the FTC's Bureau of Competition before it could go ahead.
The murmurs follow Senator Herb Kohl's call for an investigation and would significantly complicate or halt the AdMob buyout. Kohl and others that have publicly opposed the deal have argued that it would give Google near-total control over advertising on smartphones and other mobile devices: since it would supply the most ads both on the web and in apps, the search firm would would be difficult to fight in either realm.
Apple recently bought Quattro Wireless to at least partly offset the risks of a successful Google takeover of AdMob and may already be set to preview a new ad platofrm early, at its iPhone 4.0 event tomorrow.