White iPhone 4 image by Evanchn1

“Whenever iPhone succeeds, Google succeeds,” Google’s Asia-Pacific president Daniel Alegre tells AdNews. Welcome to the new Google. Even though Apple and Google are currently embroiled in a brutal iPhone versus Android war, the two tech giants maintain a frenemy relationship.

The search monster needs those iPhone eyeballs and Alegre’s comment helps alleviate the issues some iPhone users are having over Android’s success in the marketplace. Re-iterating 300,000 Android activations a day and explaining how mobile benefits from as few platforms as possible, he then launched into the iPhone appraisal:

I actually don’t look at it as iPhone versus Android. iPhone is a very strong driver of query growth for Google. We also monetise apps through the iPhone..we actually benefit from iPhone’s growth.

Search traffic is important, but AdMob is even more so. Read on…


Watchful readers could point out that Alegre’s comment echoes what Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt said last year in Colorado. He explained back then how  they “love the success of the iPhone” because it drives search. This Android thing has always been the vehicle to monetize users with adverts. When Google out-bid Apple and snapped up mobile advertising company AdMob in November 2009 for $750 million, they effectively became the dominant player in key mobile advertising verticals. AdMob is the most popular platform to serve adverts on both mobile-optimized websites and inside Android and iPhone smartphone apps.

This is particularly important knowing iPhone users spend most of their time in apps, which comes at the expense of traditional search traffic. Google also has the AdSense program for smartphone apps but it never took off in a meaningful way. Having its tentacles in both AdMob-enabled iPhone apps and traditional mobile search puts Google in a unique position where their mobile advertising revenue directly benefits from the iPhone’s success.

According to the just published quarterly results, Google’s revenue for the March quarter was $8.58 billion, of which they paid $1.31 billion in commissions and fees to its advertising network and other partners. So yes, the iPhone matters to Google.

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