Deal is Apple's first big foray into the ad marketplace.
Waltham, MA-based Quattro offers ad creation, landing pages, and measurement of mobile campaigns. Its ad formats include SMS, banners, interstitial ads, and video formats. Brands such as Ford, P&G, and Disney have used it to place ad buys on mobile Web sites and apps. On the publisher side, it serves mobile Web site owners and application developers.
For Apple, buying Quattro represents its first foray into interactive advertising as a company that has long been laser-focused on hardware and software. For one, it would oversee a direct sales team selling display inventory to agencies and brands.
Yet some have speculated Apple's interest in Quattro may have more to do with maintaining business ties with app developers who are building experiences for iPhone and iTouch than with earning mobile ad revenue.
For instance, once it integrates Quattro's technology with its developer platform, Apple could offer incentives for third parties to choose its baked-in monetization solution over those of AdMob and Google. That would let Apple control data on how mobile consumers are interacting with iPhone apps -- which in turn could hamper Google's competing smartphone ambitions as it seeks to build an app ecosystem for phones built on its Android platform.
Meanwhile, Google's plan to buy AdMob has faced a small stumbling block in the form of a "second request" from the Federal Trade Commission, suggesting the agency intends to continue to review the deal.
BoomTown pegged the value of Apple's accepted offer for Quattro at $275 million.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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