In my predictions for 2009 (back in January) I said the following
“2009 will not be the year of mobile for the travel industry: Every year since 2000 we have been talking about the mobile revolution in online travel. This year I rejoined that chorus of mobile revolution fan boys while at PhoCusWright in LA. With the Global Financial Crisis (I am told there is even an acronym for this - GFC) in full swing I think the larger players will pull back from their mobile plans and focus on core products, costs control and customer loyalty. Mobile will have to wait until 2010; and”
Many disagreed including Norm Rose, arguing that the proliferation of smart phones and mobile apps would prove me wrong. But I would not be talked out of it. In September I reaffirmed by prediction saying
” The argument in favour of my prediction is that bookings of travel via mobile phones apps (outside of Korea and Japan) are still very small and arguably inconsequential to the $150+ billion online travel industry. “
Here we are in November and I was looking forward to debating my position with Norm at PhoCusWright next week. But with barely a week to go before seeing Norm in Orlando, Google won the debate for him by buying AdMob for $750 million. AdMob is/was a Sequoia backed mobile display advertising platform.
This means that Google’s third largest acquisition ever (after YouTube and DoubleClick) is of a company with maybe $40mm in revenue focused on putting adverts on iPhones, Android phones, smartphones etc. We now have a revenue model and distribution for advertising on the phone. Add that to the travel app bonanza on iTunes and elsewhere, the levels of smartphone penetration, augmented reality and more.
You got me Norm. I concede. Google has closed out the year with a big M&A deal proving that 2009 is indeed a year for Mobile. See you in Orlando for a piece of humble pie.
More on the deal read these two TechCrunch posts
- Google Acquires AdMob For $750 Million; and
- AdMob Is “Approaching $100 Million” In Revenues. Google Thinks It Can Be Billions