Unlockd takes on Google, delays IPO

​Australian adtech startup applies for an injunction against Google’s AdMob, which disables certain advertising content

Australian tech startup, Unlockd, has applied for an injunction against Google’s AdMob and postponed its imminent debut on the Australian Stock Exchange as a result.

Unlockd has applied for an injunction with the UK High Court to prevent Google from disabling AdMob-generated advertising content and removing Unlockd apps from the Google Play Store. The company alleges Google's move would significantly impact the startup's revenue, and it has postponed an IPO on the ASX while it pursues the legal options.

“Unlockd’s legal counsel has confidence that the threats made by Google to withdraw access and the supply of services in respect of Google Play and AdMob represent an abuse of its dominant position and breach of competition rules," the company statement read. 

“It is particularly striking that Google’s warnings emerged at a time of speculation around an Unlockd IPO in mid-April 2018. Google’s anti-competitive conduct is preventing Unlockd from raising capital to continue its rapid expansion and innovation, and therefore protecting Google from a growing and potential competitor.

“The IPO has been postponed pending the resolution of this matter. Notwithstanding the legal action, we continue to explore all possible avenues to find a solution that works for both parties and avoids unnecessary disruption to our partners and customers.”

Unlockd’s mobile rewards platform allows users to opt-in to view targeted ads, content and offers upon unlocking their smartphone, in exchange for rewards.

In February, Flybuys became the first loyalty program provider to join forces with Unlockd on its new Earn Wall, a feature within the vendor’s Rewards app that allows users to complete activities such as viewing videos and taking surveys, in addition to viewing ads when they unlock their phone. In return, users can collect up to 4000 bonus flybuys points every month.

Australia-based Unlockd already works with a number of streaming and telco providers in multiple markets globally, and partnered with the likes of News UK, Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook Audience Network, McDonalds, British Airways and Doritos. It also recently raised US$23 million in funding to help expand its presence in Asia.  

Unlockd and its partners seek to reward user’s attention by returning a portion of the advertising revenue back to users in the form of mobile data, credit off phone bills, entertainment content, or loyalty points. Since it began, Unlockd has returned over $15m worth of rewards to users.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu 

 

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