Wednesday, August 05, 2009

USA: FTC continues its investigate of the Apple-Google relationship, event after a Google director resigned

[Reuter's] The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said it will continue to investigate the relationship between the boards of Apple Inc and Google Inc, after Google's chief quit Apple's board on Monday.

Richard Feinstein, director of the FTC's bureau of competition, commended both companies for recognizing that sharing directors raises competitive issues, in light of the resignation of Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt from Apple's board.

Feinstein said regulators have been investigating the Google-Apple tie for "some time," even as the two companies increasingly compete with each other in markets such as smartphones and operating systems.

"We will continue to investigate remaining interlocking directorates between the companies," Feinstein said.

Antitrust experts say, typically, a resignation like Schmidt's would have closed the FTC investigation. But because one other person still sat on the boards of both companies, the agency was not likely to close its investigation down yet.

Former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson remains a director of both companies.

"Generally it would have shut down the investigation because they (regulators) achieved what they wanted to achieve," said Gary Reback at the law firm of Carr & Ferrell.

FTC to press on with Apple-Google board probe

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