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Two new hires are Apple's latest moves in mobile advertising

Apple has followed up its purchase of online advertiser Quattro Wireless by recruiting two experienced mobile advertising employees for high-profile positions.

According to New Media Age, Apple has hired Theo Theodorou, a former mobile advertising sales manager with Microsoft in Europe, to serve as its head of sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa through newly acquired Quattro Wireless. In addition, Todd Tran, who worked with mobile ad agency Joule, has been hired as general manager of Apple's European mobile ad network.

The report asserts that Apple is building a network of publishers and advertisers to play a part in mobile devices like the iPhone and iPod touch, through both App Store software and Web sites. The two hires are just the latest in a string of talent Apple has brought onto its team in Europe in recent months.

"The moves come as Apple increases its focus on attracting UK digital media talent," author Suzanne Bearne wrote. "It has appointed Jonny Freeman, Honda’s digital marketing manager, as EMEA digital advertising manager, while Simon Thompson, former Lastminute.com chief marketing officer, joined as EMEA general manager of Apple’s online store in August."

When Apple purchased mobile advertiser Quattro Wireless, it named the company's CEO, Andy Miller, to a brand new position at Apple: vice president of Mobile Advertising. It has been said Apple purchased the company for $275 million.

Prior to the Quattro purchase, Apple allegedly had discussions with competing mobile ad agency AdMob. That firm was eventually acquired by Google for $750 million, and the deal is pending approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

While Apple is new to the ad business, its App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch includes a wealth of free applications available that are often supported by advertising. And with the huge success of the App Store, now with 140,000 options and counting, Apple sees advertising as an important revenue opportunity in the company's future.

"In terms of Quattro and Lala we acquired Quattro because we wanted to offer a seamless way for developers to make more money on their apps, especially free apps," Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said during Apple's quarterly earnings conference call last week. "We acquire companies from time to time for their technology and talent — that's why we do it."