Apple's 'iAd' Mobile Advertising Platform Set for Introduction Tomorrow as Google Sweats AdMob Purchase Approval?

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MediaMemo reports on an interesting confluence of events involving the mobile advertising industry, noting how Apple's media event tomorrow could help Google in its bid to gain regulatory approval for its acquisition of AdMob.

Late last month, a report surfaced claiming that Apple was set to introduce a mobile advertising system dubbed "iAd" on April 7th, which is today. With Monday's announcement of an iPhone OS 4.0 media event scheduled for tomorrow, rumors from MediaMemo's sources and others have unsurprisingly shifted the iAd introduction to that date.

Apple is likely to introduce its mobile ad platform Thursday at its iPhone developer event, say sources familiar with the company's plans.

Apple's iAd platform is expected to be based on its January acquisition of ad firm Quattro Wireless. That purchase came relatively soon after Google's announcement that it had agreed to purchase AdMob, which Apple had also reportedly considered purchasing.

Insiders have reported that Google's pursuit of AdMob was primarily a ploy to keep the ad company out of Apple's hands, with Google offering a 25% premium over Apple's offer in order to seal the deal. While the technique succeeded and Apple was forced to move on to Quattro in its bid to snap up a major mobile advertising industry player, Google's AdMob acquisition has been held up by regulatory scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and a Wall Street Journal report (subscription required) today indicates that the FTC is gearing up to formally oppose the acquisition on antitrust grounds.

As a result of the FTC's scrutiny of the Google-AdMob deal, Google has reportedly been playing up Apple's moves in the mobile advertising space in hopes of convincing regulators that healthy competition will continue to exist in the marketplace even if the acquisition is approved. MediaMemo notes:

Last month, when MediaPost wrote a story speculating about Apple's mobile ad plans -- the publication dubbed the platform "iAd," but I'm not sure that Apple intends to go with that name -- Google sent reporters an email link to the story. "If true, it would be more evidence of how competitive and quickly-evolving the mobile ad space is," wrote Adam Kovacevich, a manager at the company's public affairs group.

Consequently, an "iAd" introduction by Apple tomorrow could be a significant weapon for Google to have in its arsenal as it continues to seek approval for its deal with AdMob.

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