As the FTC lays the groundwork for a possible challenge to Google’s purchase of AdMob, it is instructive to look at something else Google has already done to gain a strong foothold in the mobile ad business.
Any advertiser that bids through the AdWords system gives Google complete authority over which devices its messages are seen on – that is, unless the advertiser makes a specific election not to appear on mobile handsets. The ads might run alongside search results on a PC or a laptop, or they might appear on a smartphone like the iPhone.
Most users normally accept the default settings on systems like AdWords and never make changes. So it’s a fair bet that this policy has given Google a massive inventory of ads to push onto mobiles. That sounds great for Google, but whether it is always in the best interests of the advertisers is a different question.