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Google highlights Apple's iAd as FTC looks to block AdMob deal

Lawyers with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission will reportedly recommend that the government block Google's proposed acquisition of mobile advertising firm AdMob, while the search giant has highlighted Apple's forthcoming iAd platform as evidence of growing competition in the market.

According to Reuters, staff with the FTC are prepared to recommend blocking Google's purchase of AdMob for anticompetitive reasons. An anonymous source told the news agency that the commission's staff believe there is a "significant competitive problem," and they will recommend that the FTC sue to stop the acquisition.

It was in late December that consumer groups asked the FTC to block Google's $750 million AdMob deal, citing both antitrust and privacy issues. Google agreed to acquire AdMob just weeks after the advertising firm met with representatives from Apple about a potential deal.

A recent report from The New York Times profiling the rivalry between Apple and Google said that the search engine willingly overpaid for AdMob just to keep the company away from Apple. Soon after the deal between Google and AdMob was struck, Apple responded by acquiring competing mobile ad firm Quattro Wireless.

Apple's move to purchase Quattro Wireless and establish its own advertising platform for integration into the App Store has been closely watched and even applauded by representatives from Google, who see the acquisition as evidence that there is competition in the mobile advertising space. Peter Kafka at MediaMemo noted this week that Google representatives sent e-mails to reporters to keep them apprised of rumors surrounding Apple's anticipated iAd platform.

Recent reports have said that Apple plans to introduce its new mobile advertising platform, a result of its purchase of Quattro Wireless, at a special event set for Thursday to preview the forthcoming iPhone OS 4.0. The new version of Apple's mobile operating system, which powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, is believed to add full multitasking support with third-party applications from the App Store. The preview event is scheduled for 10 a.m. Pacific, and will give a "sneak peek of the next generation of iPhone software" at the company's Cupertino, Calif., campus.