updated 09:35 pm EDT, Mon May 17, 2010
Dialogue described as an "interrogation"
Naan Studio, the software developer behind Echofon Twitter apps, has detailed its experience dealing with the FTC over Google's acquisition of AdMob. In a company blog, staff member Chika suggests the FTC pressured her to criticize the deal despite Naan's overall support for the acquisition. The dialogue was described as more of an "interrogation," while the FTC reportedly dismissed the company's larger concern over Apple's rival deal with Quattro Wireless.
AdMob initially asked Naan to submit a letter to the FTC supportive of the deal with Google. During the following testimony, Chika voiced hope that AdMob and Google could provide an even better solution, as the mobile at market is still relatively young and none of the single ad networks work perfectly. The deal was also said to potentially provide a "good counterbalance" to Apple's acquisition of Quattro Wireless.
Naan had experienced very high ad rates in the first month on Google, before the rates dropped significantly. Although the company suggested the anomaly could be attributed to a variety of different factors, the FTC allegedly interpreted the comment as evidence of unfair bait-and-switch tactics.
"The FTC staff kept going back to the possibility that Google did the bait-and-switch intentionally, and I had to say we had no proof for that several times," Chika said.
The company was even more concerned with the FTC's seemingly nonchalant attitude toward the Apple/Quattro deal. An FTC staff member reportedly labeled the discussion irrelevant, despite growing fears that Apple will use the iPhone SDK terms to give itself an unfair advantage over rival advertisers on its range of mobile devices.
Chika claims that the FTC continued to resist mentioning the Apple/Quattro concerns in the official declaration that was produced from the conversations. The full argument was only included after several insistent requests.
"To me, the problem was that the FTC seemed to be determined to stop the deal from the beginning," Chika said. "Though they did agree to put together the declaration close enough to my belief in the end, I felt I was pressured to say things in a way that met their goal."
Although the FTC has yet to announce a final decision on the matter, regulators are expected to oppose the deal. Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently admitted that his company would still pay AdMob $700 million even if the acquisition deal is blocked by the government.