This morning we announced that AdMob has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Google. I’m obviously excited, and not only for our customers, partners, and employees. I’m excited because I believe this will be an important moment for everyone involved in producing, consuming, or monetizing engaging products on mobile. The truth is that the mobile industry has had no shortage of creative energy, amazing products, and talented entrepreneurs. But until now, it has always felt like those of us involved in this space played second fiddle to our online brethren. I believe that time is over.
I’ve been working in mobile for over 7 years now. Before AdMob, I founded two separate mobile startups that never got significant traction. It was so frustrating to build what I knew was an incredible service only to find myself unable to distribute or monetize the product without a carrier or handset deal. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one. Talk to any veteran in mobile and they will tell you just how hard it was to get things done only a few years ago. I remember we used to have a cynical saying that summarized both the promise that mobile possessed and the monumental barriers we could not cross: “Mobile is the future, and always will be.”
That frustration is what led me to found AdMob a few years ago while I was in grad school. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to gather a tremendously talented group of employees. Together we’ve been a part of helping to create a healthy and vibrant environment where developers and publishers, small and large, can both promote their services as well as benefit from the attention and usage their products attract. In our early days we were focused primarily on the mobile web, and gained immense satisfaction from each new business that our service made possible within the mobile browser.
Then came the iPhone. Suddenly, Apple solved so many problems that had plagued mobile for so long. They showed all of us the way forward and their efforts have led to a landslide of rapid improvements in our space. We were so excited by the promise the iPhone represented that we shifted a significant portion of our attention to that device in its very early days. We launched the first iPhone ad units focused on the web and quickly added the capability to run ads in applications. Now with the addition of excellent devices from Palm, Nokia, RIM, and plethora of Android powered smartphones, we have all the preconditions necessary for what will be a tidal wave of mobile browsing and app usage. But let there be no mistake. Our business, and the mobile industry in general, owes Apple a debt of gratitude.
We now operate in an environment that is much more advanced than the one we entered into a few years ago. There are literally hundreds of competitors, small and large, with different areas of focus and expertise. Lately, it seems that almost every week we hear about a new idea or company in the mobile advertising space. This has led to rapid innovation, and we’re excited about the positive attention this deal will bring to mobile advertising. We have no doubt this will bring even more players into the space and accelerate all the innovation that is already taking place.
There are so many people to thank for getting us to this point. We’ve benefited from the advice and support of the best investors and advisers in the world. We’ve had tremendous publishers, advertisers, and partners. We’re very excited by all the very real benefits this will bring for them. Our ads will become more relevant, our products more robust, and our monetization capabilities more significant.
Most importantly, I’ve had the honor of working with a team of people that were all, top to bottom, completely committed to our mission. I’ve never in my career seen such dedication, excellence, and passion. This is a group that is smart, fun, and very focused on building and launching amazing products. We’ve been able to keep the bar so high that I often tell people that I’m very lucky to have founded the company in the first place, as I am fairly certain I wouldn’t have made it through the interviews. So let me be plain: None of this would have this happened without the team at AdMob, and I will be forever in their debt.
The best part of all this is what’s next. We are not going away. After our deal with Google closes, we will work together to accelerate the pace of innovation in this area. Our product and engineering teams will keep building great products for all of our customers. Our business development team will keep working to maximize ad revenue for the more than 15,000 mobile Web sites and applications that make up AdMob’s publisher network. Our sales teams will keep working with our thousands advertisers to deliver successful campaigns and our marketing group will keep pushing to get the word out about mobile. It’s just that now we will be able to do an even better job for all of our customers.
I have one important thank you left and it is for Google. We’ve been blown away by their entrepreneurial attitude, their speed, and their insight. My management team and I have been lucky enough to spend time with some key people at Google, and we’ve always walked away excited about our shared values and similar cultures. In all of our interactions we’ve felt their passion for innovation and new ideas. Obviously this transaction represents only a part of their overall interest in mobile but all of us at AdMob are looking forward to working with them to make sure that the future of mobile is no longer so far away.