Apple raising its game with Quattro buy

By David Goldman,

NEW YORK ( -- Apple said on Tuesday that it has agreed to buy Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising and publishing company.

The move puts Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500), which makes the popular iPhone, in head-to-head competition with Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), which just unveiled its new Nexus One phone Tuesday.

Quattro runs advertising networks for smartphone applications and for the mobile Web. Its advertiser roster includes Procter & Gamble (PG, Fortune 500), Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500), Netflix (NFLX) and Disney (DIS, Fortune 500). Quattro also designs mobile Web pages. Google purchased a rival mobile ad firm, AdMob, in November.

Terms of the Apple-Quattro deal were not disclosed. An Apple spokesman said the company is "looking forward to developing exciting new opportunities for Quattro Wireless customers," but had no further comment.

Analysts say that selling mobile ads will give Apple another revenue source from the iPhone apps that it offers through its App Store. On Tuesday, Apple said it had logged its 3 billionth download from the App Store.

"Apple is seeing other companies like Google successfully selling ads for their apps, and Quattro can help them do that too," said Tole Hart, analyst at Gartner.

Though Hart said Quattro doesn't have as wide an audience as Google's AdMob, Quattro offers better mobile Web design, which Apple can benefit from as well.  To top of page

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