FTC investigates Apple, Google ties

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether the close ties between Apple and Google’s boards amount to a violation of antitrust laws. Citing multiple people briefed on the inquiry, who asked to remain anonymous, the New York Times reports that the companies’ sharing of two directors—Eric Schimdt, CEO of Google, and Arthur Levinson, former CEO of Genentech—may violate the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, which prohibits a person’s presence on the board of two rival companies when it could reduce competition between them.The article notes that while the companies have worked together to bring services such as Gmail and Google Maps to the iPhone, they have been increasingly been in competition, with products such as the iPhone and the Android OS, and with Safari and Google’s Chrome browser. Under the Clayton Act, sharing directors is not considered a problem if the revenue from products in which the companies compete is less than 2 percent of either company’s sales.

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