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Ties between Google and Apple under investigation

U.S. Federal Trade Commission launches inquiry into whether antitrust laws are being violated.

The Federal Trade Commission in the United States has launched an inquiry into whether ties between the boards of Apple and Google violate antitrust laws.

Under present federal antitrust laws, a person is not allowed to serve on the board of two companies if it decreases competition between them - Google CEO Eric Schmidt and ex-Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson are directors in both companies.

In this case, the competition is most evident in the swelling smartphone market where both Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android, used on T-Mobile’s G1 handsets, are among the top five best-selling consumer smartphones in the United States. Similarly, both companies are major rivals of Microsoft which has its own antitrust violations to deal with.

According to a New York Times report, both companies have already been notified of the inquiry but have so far declined to comment on the matter.