updated 11:10 am EDT, Mon May 3, 2010
FTC may sue Google over AdMob by next week
The Federal Trade Commission is on the verge of suing Google to block its buyout of AdMob, multiple leaks insisted today and over the weekend. Sources at both of the involved companies and close to the FTC now expect an antitrust lawsuit or preliminary injunction to be imposed by next week and possibly later this week. It would be considered a disciplinary maneuver to prevent Google from getting too much control over search.
AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui is known to have been flying to Washington to explain his business to the FTC. AllThingsD's Kara Swisher noted that Hamoui looked "haggard" and may have been under tight scrutiny by US officials. Both the FTC and and Google have been rallying support for their respective sides in anticipation of any legal action.
A lawsuit of the sort could prove a major setback for Google's mobile ad goals, as it would deny the company control of the largest mobile advertiser and would ironically have given Apple a stronger position in the space. When introducing iPhone 4.0, Apple admitted that it had bought Quattro Wireless and launched iAd as a reaction to Google's AdMob deal rather than as its own initiative.
AdMob is currently the largest mobile advertiser available and puts ads on the iPhone as well as Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and other major smartphone platforms. It would remain platform-agnostic if the deal completed rather than focus on Android.