Google to fight feds 'very hard' on any AdMob challenge

Google has waged an intensive advertising campaign of its own in recent months as it seeks to stifle concerns that its proposed purchase of AdMob would prove anti-competitive. Chiefly sounding those alarms have been consumer groups and members of Congress, who fear Google could easily leverage its Internet search gains in the new mobile phone market, creating high barriers for new competitors that stunt growth.

But perhaps Google's most convincing argument — to federal regulators, at least — targets Apple's emergence in the mobile advertising field. The search company has pointed to Apple's recent purchase of Quattro Wireless, another mobile advertising firm, as reason enough that mobile advertising is sufficiently competitive for the time.

"It would be better if the AdMob acquisition can be approved to see if Google can get a more competitive market on the iPhone platform," Schmidt told Reuters in the interview.

FTC officials have seemed to agree, and told reporters last week they have extended their review of Google's bid for AdMob in order to better understand what it means in an advertising world also occupied by Apple's new iAd venture. It is unclear, however, whether that means FTC regulators might stand down on what was once widely reported as a coming challenge to Google's mobile phone business.