How Google stole AdMob from Apple. Was this the first covert tactical strike in the mobile advertising wars?

The New York Times is reporting on the “Apple V Google feud”, and has an interesting account of how Apple perhaps messed up in it’s chance to snatch up AdMob. Which in effect suggests Apple was then forced to buy it’s second choice of mobile ad company; Quattro Wireless.

In essence The New York Times is saying that Apple had the deal it wanted, and locked AdMob into a 45 day period for due diligence, where they could analyse the deal before finalising it. During this time AdMob were not allowed to promote themselves to any other potential suitor.

However, when the period of due diligence came to an end Apple had not acted, and Google stepped in quickly with an offer which was 25% higher than Apple’s. According to The New York Times Google told AdMob it would be able to cash out it’s stock sooner. It also wooed AdMob with a sales pitch that went something like, ‘Hey, we get advertising, what does Apple know about advertising?’

According to the article Google simply wanted to keep AdMob from Apple.

Of course that version of events is possible. But when you consider that missteps from Apple like this are few and far between one has to wonder if actually Apple preferred the idea of the $275 Million Quattro deal, and was happy to see Google wrong footed into buying something it didn’t need. How satisfying do you think it would be to see the biggest most successful search company in the world pay more than top dollar for.. well.. another search company!

From the article : One executive familiar with Google’s acquisitions strategy said the company was willing to pay a large premium for AdMob simply to keep the company out of Apple’s arms. There is no way AdMob would have gotten $750 million if Google wasn’t worried that it would end up in the hands of Steve, the executive said. Are they going to get $750 million in cash flow back? No way!

Whichever way you look at it the article got one thing right. It certainly looks like the “bromance” between a certain two Silicon Valley heavyweights has turned sour these days!

Full details of the story I have summarised here are over at The New York Times

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Stephen NorthcottHow Google stole AdMob from Apple. Was this the first covert tactical strike in the mobile advertising wars?