Apple 2.0

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Apple buys Google time with Feds

May 12, 2010: 6:48 AM ET

A two-week extension in the government's investigation of the AdMob acquisition

Source: Apple Inc.

A decision due this week on whether to prevent Google (GOOG) from purchasing the AdMob advertising network has been postponed because of complications created by Apple's (AAPL) aggressive foray into online advertising, according to a report in Wednesday's New York Times.

Google, which derives 99% of its revenue from online ads, announced in November its intention to purchase AdMob, one of the world's largest mobile ad networks, for $750 million.

The deal immediately raised antitrust concerns, and it was widely reported that the Federal Trade Commission was inclined to block it.

The Times quotes an unnamed person briefed on the FTC's deliberations who said that the agency's decision "would have been much easier without Apple and its new ad system and terms of service provisions."

According to several reports, the FTC and the Department of Justice have begun initial inquiries into the restrictions Apple places on developers who want to write apps for its mobile devices -- including prohibitions against using Adobe (ADBE) Flash on the iPhone or iPad.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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