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Apple Staffing Up European Mobile Ad Sales Team

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Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is following its $275 million (£172 million) acquisition of mobile advertising firm Quattro Wireless by hiring a couple of mobile advertising execs in Europe – suggesting it’s ramping up mobile ads sales in its head-to-head with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) in this space.

— Former Microsoft EMEA sales manager (for ScreenTonic) Theo Theodorou will head up its EMEA sales team.
— Todd Tran, previously an executive from WPP’s Group M, will be general manager for Europe, writes NMA.

I interviewed Theodorou many moons ago when he was still at Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). Back then, he was outspoken on the challenges of mobile advertising and marketing breaking into the mainstream: “Frankly there isn’t one standardised way of doing this. It’s a barrier to overcome to get mobile onto that next level.” (via FT)

That barrier in “getting to the next level” is just as true now as it was just over a year ago when we spoke. Figures from Juniper Research say that mobile advertising in 2009 totalled $1.4 billion – but that is less than one-third of one percent of all global ad revenue. Apple still only has a tiny share of the overall smartphone market, but it is has made very big business out of maximising revenues out of those users.

Yet Apple has a major contender in the mobile ad space, in the form of Google. Tran’s boss from his days at WPP, Sir Martin Sorrell, highlighted this growing dominance in December: “There