05 May Board ties at Apple and Google are scrutinized
The Federal Trade Commission has begun an inquiry into whether the close ties between the boards of two of technology’s most prominent companies, Apple and Google, amount to a violation of antitrust laws, according to several people briefed on the inquiry.
Apple and Google share two directors, Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, and Arthur Levinson, former chief executive of Genentech. The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 prohibits a person’s presence on the board of two rival companies when it would reduce competition between them. The two companies increasingly compete in the cellphone and operating systems markets.
Antitrust experts say the provision against “interlocking directorates,” known as Section 8 of the act, is rarely enforced. Nevertheless, the agency has already notified Google and Apple of its interest in the matter, according to the people briefed on the inquiry, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because the inquiry was confidential.
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