Google confirms FTC anti-trust investigation over Apple ties

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Chicago (IL) - Google has confirmed that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating the company over possible anti-trust violations.  

The probe is reportedly centered on the close ties between the boards of Apple and Google. Indeed, the corporations share two directors - Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Arthur Levinson. Under the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, directors are forbidden from sitting on the board of two competing companies.

However, Schmidt told reporters that the possibility of relinquishing his seat on the Apple board of directors hadn't "crossed" his mind.

"I don't think Google sees Apple as a primary competitor," said Schmidt.  

Google General Counsel Kent Walker expressed similar sentiments. According to Walker, the Clayton Antitrust Act permits corporations to share board members if they do not have "overlapping revenues."

It should be be noted that the Department of Justice (DoJ) recently launched a separate inquiry over Google's plans to digitize millions of books for online distribution. In addition, the DoJ had previously threatened to block Google's planned search advertising deal with Yahoo.