A recent BusinessWeek article looks at Apple vs. Google, providing an excellent look at how Apple may be in the best position to take on Google at their core – advertising.  With 300,000 iPads sold the first day it was available, it looks like this may be the year where the level of growth in mobile browsing dictates a focus in advertising budgets specifically for mobile.

NetMarketShare reports mobile Internet browsing as 1.7% of all browsing as of March 2010.

The BusinessWeek story suggests that the best mobile apps ecosystem will be able to establish the best mobile advertising platform, and the logic makes perfect sense.

If the iPad has anywhere near the success of the iPhone or iPod, Apple will have created a new mobile category able to continue its dominance in their apps ecosystem. Using iTunes for delivery and management of books, music, games, magazines, newspapers, radio stations, movies, TV shows and website content may finally have a successful large screen multi-touch presentation methodology.

I’ve personally had trouble seeing a need for the iPad. I don’t see what I can accomplish on it that can’t be done on my light and easy to maneuver laptop, which runs iTunes quite well. But, I have heard from quite a few people who do see a large market segment for it.

Given Apple’s past successes, I doubt it will be a flop. But, that still leads us to the next question, which is how Apple will leverage this success in mobile to take on Google as an advertising platform?

Apple has some critical advantages currently, and will need to maintain those:

  • It controls the most popular devices
  • iTunes has evolved into an excellent media manager
  • Apple has their own operating system and browser embedded into their own devices
  • This successful, closed system allows Apple to gain and maintain complete control of the ad platform for their devices

For Apple to truly threaten Google in advertising, I believe all of the following must happen:

  • Apple devices must achieve and maintain a large share of the total mobile market (50%+)
  • Google Android must be a relative flop
  • Apple must design an ad platform that proves successful to both advertisers and publishers
  • Mobile Internet usage must reach a critical mass (at least 10%), and show sustainable growth

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