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Apple + Google Investigated for Antitrust

Citing people familiar with the matter, the NYT reports that the overlap in directors on the two boards is currently being investigated regarding the possible violation of antitrust laws. Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, and Arthur Levinson, the former chief executive of Genentech, sit on the boards of both companies and antitrust laws give the government the freedom to intervene if directors sit on the boards of two competing companies, particularly if their presence threatens to reduce competition.

According to the Wall Street Journal, lawyers say the issue is rarely pursued, partly because it is difficult to prove the impact of the overlapping directors on either company but partly because it’s easily resolved with a resignation from one director.

With Apple and Google competing in several areas (including browsers, mail clients and mobile platforms) it’s easy to see why the FTC is worried. The FTC is remaining silent on the issue and neither company has provided comment, despite being aware of the investigation. That said, it's still early days, so we’ll keep you posted on this one.