The FTC's concerns were outweighed by Apple's recent announcement, the agency said. In January, Apple acquired mobile advertising provider Quattro Wireless and used it to launch its own iAd service. Apple can also leverage its close relationships with application developers and users, its access to a large amount of proprietary user data, and its ownership of iPhone software development tools and control over the iPhone developers' license agreement to compete in the mobile ad market, the FTC said.
Apple's entry into the mobile ad market "changed the dynamics" of competition in the mobile ad space, said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a privacy group that asked the FTC in December to block the deal.
"However, the review by the FTC has helped regulators come up to speed on how the mobile marketing system affects consumers, including their privacy," Chester said. "We will continue to press the commission to ensure mobile privacy is protected, especially in a field dominated by Google and Apple."