Apple is reportedly about to buy ad broker Quattro Wireless for $275m - a third of what Google hopes the regulator will let it pay for competing service AdMob.
The details come from All Things Digital, which reports that an announcement could come later today on Apple's coughing up for the ad broker. The deal will include the broker's technology for injecting advertising into mobile applications, including iPhone apps.
The deal follows Apple's much-rumoured attempt to buy competing service AdMob, which broke down when Google put $750m on the table to buy the company. AdMob is bigger than Quattro, and if the deal is approved it will give Google somewhere between 40 and 75 per cent of the mobile-advertising market, which is why that deal is still under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.
Apple buying Quattro could be good news for Google, certainly giving the search giant a significant competitor at which to point to prove it's not operating a monopoly.
In-application advertising has been heralded as the next big thing for some decades now, but in mobile applications it seems to be happening. Email client Eudora had an advertising mode for years, and games often feature product placements these days, some of which can be updated remotely. But the always-connected nature of a mobile phone lends itself well to updatable advertising in applications.
Not that these technologies are limited to mobile phones; devices such as Amazon's Kindle are equally well connected and have pages of text crying out to be filled with advertising. As connectivity becomes ubiquitous so will embedded advertising, with Google and Apple competing to supply it. ®