In November last year, Google agreed
to buy mobile marketing specialist AdMob for $750 million,
but the deal has not yet closed. Considering how many different
markets Google has its toes in, no one was surprised in
December when consumer advocacy groups asked the U.S.
Federal Trade Commission to look at the proposed deal a little closer
and consider blocking it.
Consumer Watchdog and Center for Digital
Democracy were concerned more about the impact the deal would have on
consumers’ ability to protect their privacy than the possible antitrust
implications of the acquisition. At the time, they said:
Both AdMob and Google gather tremendous amounts of
data about consumers’ online behavior, including in the key mobile
sector…U.S. consumers currently do not have meaningful safeguards
protecting their privacy online, including with behavioral targeting.
This is particularly true of the mobile Web, where there are no
meaningful federal policies to effectively protect privacy.
March of this year, when the FTC
began asking Google competitors to put things they had
previously told the regulator about the pending deal into sworn
statements, observers noted the "development" probably didn’t bode well
Google CEO Eric Schmidt is expecting a final decision on the
acquisition soon. And if the FTC chooses to block the deal? Reuters
quotes Schmidt this way:
We’re likely to fight very hard. It’s a very
As always, Google
will be fascinating to watch.