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Now that mobile ad network AdMob has been acquired by Google, the company’s founder and chief executive, Omar Hamoui, is getting pulled into what looks like a mobile advertising battle between Apple and Google. Yet Hamoui, who has been named Google’s vice president of mobile ads, said at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat 2010 conference today in San Francisco that he’s actually happy about the existence of Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising program.
Specifically, Hamoui said the iAd program presents “a really interesting take” on mobile ads, and that Apple’s rich media approach should help attract large brands to the industry.
“Any advertiser that they bring is going to benefit everybody,” Hamoui said. “It’s not a zero sum game.”
(The other benefit of iAd, which Hamoui didn’t bring up, is that Apple’s entry into the field apparently helped convince the Federal Trade Commission to approve Google’s acquisition of AdMob.)
That doesn’t mean everything’s rosy in AdMob’s relationship with Apple, of course. Hamoui reiterated that if Apple decides to “enforce the letter” on its new developer agreement, it will block AdMob from running ads on the iPhone. Apple hasn’t moved on that yet, but it has added “a degree of general uncertainty” to the market.
Reporter Jon Fortt, who was interviewing Hamoui on-stage, asked whether AdMob is making any contingency plans. Hamoui said those contingencies would revolve around other phones, but he added, “We’re hopeful that we’re going to be able to find a solution.”
Talking more broadly about the mobile advertising industry, Hamoui quoted AdMob’s Jason Spero, who said that where independent networks like AdMob blazed the trail, “now it’s more about paving the roads.” The process still isn’t as smooth as it could be. As an example, he noted that on desktop browsers, “there’s really nothing an ad network can do that a publisher can’t do.” Mobile publishers should get access to more technology, bringing them on-par with ad networks and therefore bringing more standardization to the market.
[photo: Miikka Skaffari]