RealTime IT News

Apple Nabs Quattro, Still Haggling With Verizon

Apple is diving headlong into the mobile advertising business with the purchase of Quattro Wireless, a mobile ad firm that was the No. 2 player behind AdMob, which is in the process of being acquired by Google.

While Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) wrestles with a regulatory review and advocacy groups' opposition to the deal, Apple, with no foothold in advertising, snapped up the privately-held Quattro with far less grief.

Andy Miller, Quattro Wireless' vice president of mobile advertising, announced the deal in a blog post on the company's Web site on Tuesday. Quattro did not reveal a purchase price, but the tech blog AllThingsDigital has floated the figure of $275 million.

Quattro Wireless is based on Waltham, Mass. All 150 employees at the company are expected to keep their jobs, according to the Boston Globe.

Can't nab Verizon yet

One thing Apple hasn't been able to land is Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless provider. While there has been considerable sniping on television in advertisements, the bulk of Verizon's barrage has been aimed at Apple's exclusive U.S. provider, AT&T, not Apple itself.

The fact is, both could use each other. Verizon would love millions of dedicated iPhone users fed up with AT&T, and Apple would love a new and larger partner. But behind the scenes, things are reported to be bumpy.

AppleInsider.com obtained a report from analyst Maynard J. Um of UBS Investment Research, who told investors, "We believe a CDMA-iPhone is also in the works ... though [we] believe Verizon Wireless and Apple may currently be apart on pricing." Even if Verizon and Apple can't work out a deal, Um said he believes a CDMA iPhone is still in the works.

Bringing the iPhone to Verizon is not trivial. It uses the HSPA network, which is used around the world, while Verizon is a CDMA network. That means a new set of internals for the iPhone.

Qualcomm plans to release dual-carrier chips that would allow phones to use CDMA/EVDO as well as 3GPP carriers using UMTS/HSPA+ technologies. That way, one phone would essentially work on every major wireless network in the U.S. But those chips will not arrive until the second half of 2010, AppleInsider noted.

Apple is believed to be working on its fourth-generation iPhone. The first three have all come out in July/August, so it would make sense that the next-generation model would also ship in that time period, when people are coming off their two-year contracts with AT&T.

Some industry observers have noted the close timing of Qualcomm's release schedule could make a dual-band iPhone unlikely to arrive before 2011.