Overlapping board members at Apple and Google lead to antitrust inquiry

By on May 5, 2009, 9:31 AM
An investigation is underway by the Federal Trade Commission regarding two directors on the boards of Apple and Google. Now under the microscope, the conglomerates face a potential violation of antitrust laws. Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt and former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson occupy seats on the boards of both companies.

The basis of the inquiry revolves around the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, which bars an individual from holding a presence on the board of rival companies when it would lessen competition between them. It is speculated that a competition is brewing between the two companies in the mobile phone and operating systems markets. Both companies have been notified of the FTC’s interest in the matter, and all parties are presently declining comments.

Google is becoming more familiar with legal action being taken against them in the name of antitrust. Just last year, the Justice Department threatened to open suit to prevent a proposed advertising relationship between Google and adversary Yahoo. To top it off, people familiar with the matter have said the Justice Department is also beginning investigations into whether or not Google’s proposed settlement in the recent copyright debacle is anticompetitive.

Is the search-giant catching underserved flak, or is the heat warranted?

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