AdMob, the mobile advertising firm that recently made headlines thanks to a Google (s goog) acquisition, might have become part of the Apple (s aapl) fold if things had worked out differently, according to a report by Bloomberg that appeared this weekend. Apple reportedly approached AdMob with interest before the Google deal went down.
That’s according to “people familiar with the matter” speaking to Bloomberg. It isn’t clear which side of the deal the source was on, but he or she declined to go on record since the proposed talks were never made public. Apple is said to have contacted AdMob “a few weeks” before Google made its successful $750 million bid for the firm.
If true, the rumors point to the increasingly fierce competition between two major players in the mobile phone game. Google’s Android is being adopted by more and more manufacturers and distributed on more devices everyday. To have a piece not only of the revenue from the use of Android apps and devices, but also from the advertising that appears on those phones, is a huge boon for the search giant.
It’s unclear why Apple’s bid didn’t succeed, if it was indeed made. It’s possible that Google made a better offer while Apple was still in talks with AdMob, or that the advertising firm used the Apple offer as a bargaining tool in enticing Google. All of the companies involved in both deals declined to comment on the reports made by the anonymous source.
Acquiring a mobile ad firm would have been a bit of a departure for Apple, which is still a hardware manufacturer first and foremost, but it is a logical move for Cupertino to make. Many of the ads AdMob displays in mobile apps direct users back to other programs in the App Store, so essentially Apple would just be closing the loop and taking in additional revenue by promoting its own revenue-generating software delivery method. Plus, it could probably use the company to place hardware ads as well, promoting less successful products through the massively popular iPhone.
If Apple is genuinely interested in getting into online advertising, it could attempt another acquisition, or it may start hiring staff with the necessary skill sets. I’d hazard a guess that if the computer maker did make a failed bid for AdMob, it’ll be twice shy about getting into the game now, since Google now controls an intimidating 30 percent to 40 percent of the mobile advertising market. It’d be hard to gain a solid foothold at this point.