U.S. Federal Trade Commission launches inquiry into Apple-Google ties

“The Federal Trade Commission has begun an inquiry into whether the close ties between the boards of two of technology’s most prominent companies, Apple and Google, amount to a violation of antitrust laws, according to several people briefed on the inquiry,” Miguel Helft and Brad Stone report for The New York Times.

“Apple and Google share two directors, Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, and Arthur Levinson, former chief executive of Genentech. The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 prohibits a person’s presence on the board of two rival companies when it would reduce competition between them. The two companies increasingly compete in the cellphone and operating systems markets,” Helft and Stone report.

MacDailyNews Take: Buh-bye, Eric. You should’ve been shown the door the moment Android appeared anyway, you poor man’s iPhone peddler, you.

Helft and Stone continue, “Antitrust experts say the provision against ‘interlocking directorates,’ known as Section 8 of the act, is rarely enforced. Nevertheless, the agency has already notified Google and Apple of its interest in the matter, according to the people briefed on the inquiry, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because the inquiry was confidential.”

“F.T.C. officials declined to comment. Spokespeople for Apple and Google also declined to comment. A spokesman for Genentech declined to make Mr. Levinson available for comment,” Helft and Stone report.

“Antitrust experts say that investigations of interlocking directorates rarely lead to major confrontations between companies and the government,” Helft and Stone report. “Executives typically choose to resign from the board of a competitor if it poses a problem rather than face a lengthy investigation or a bruising legal fight.”

More in the full article here.

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