WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Federal Trade Commission has launched an inquiry into whether the close collaboration between tech giants Google and Apple constitutes a violation of anti-trust laws.
According to the New York Times, the inquiry stems from the presence of two directors, Eric Schmidt and Arthur Levinson who sit on the boards for both companies. This would appear to be a violation of Section 8 of the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, which precludes a director from sitting on the board of two rival companies.
While Google and Apple are often in a position to collaborate as often as they are to compete, both firms are squaring off in the burgeoning mobile phone business with two competing high-end cell phones, an area that will become increasingly important as content delivery capabilities increase.
The regulation is rarely enforced and when it does become an issue, the involved directors usually choose to resign from one of the two boards rather than bear the brunt of federal scrutiny. As of yet, reps from both Apple and Google and from the FTC have declined to comment on the matter.
This isn't the first round of anti-trust woes for Google recently and the company came under federal scrutiny last month over their dealings with the publishing industry and Google's attempts to create an 'iTunes for books'. The deal would have seen Google pay publishers $125 million for the right to digitize and sell millions of books. The deal however, raised concerns about the rights it would cede to Google, particularly over books where copyright is still in effect, but the actual ownership of said book was uncertain.
"There are legitimate antitrust issues related to Google's ability to solely commercialise this content," Peter Brantley of the open source Internet Archive told Reuters. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers