Apple pulls Quattro, cedes mass mobile market to Google’s AdMob

Apple is closing its Quattro mobile ads business at the end of September, choosing to concentrate on its new iAds offer only available on iPhones and iPads.

Apple bought Quattro Wireless for $250m earlier this year, a deal that is thought to have enabled regulatory approval for Google’s purchase of rival AdMob. The decision immediately reduces Apple’s penetration of the US mobile market from an estimated 100m plus devices including Google’s Android and BlackBerry to just a few million iPods and iPads equipped with Apple’s latest operating system.

This is vintage Apple of course, preferring to concentrate on its own products to the lordly exclusion of all else. But there may be method in Steve Jobs’ apparent madness, Apple has had some success in selling premium-priced campaigns to big brands including Citibank, Nissan and Dove and may reckon that the mass market for mobile banners isn’t worth the effort and money.

But the news will be welcome indeed for Google/AdMob and other suppliers such as Millennial Media and JumpTap.

As for Apple it is thought to have pulled in more than $60m already from a small number of campaigns worth an average of $1m plus each, hitherto unheard-of riches for the mobile market. But $60m is small change for Apple and it is yet to prove that it can become a major media owner in its own right.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.