The New York Times and Wall Street Journal both reported that the Federal Trade Commission is looking at the two businesses, which compete in several markets, particularly mobile phones.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) makes the ubiquitous iPhone, which comes loaded with several Google apps like its map service, and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), makes its own Android phone software.
Both Arthur Levinson, former CEO of Genentech Inc. and Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, sit on the boards at Apple and at Google.
Antitrust rules dating from 1914 prohibit directors from working on the board at businesses that compete with each other, though the laws aren’t always enforced by regulators.
Big, powerful businesses often put influential or celebrity directors on their boards, and the links between these people create a complex web not easy to follow. Apple’s board includes former U.S. Vice President Albert Gore, J. Crew Group CEO Millard Drexler, Intuit Inc. Chairman Bill Campbell and Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs.
Funny that these new-media firms are in the anti-trust crosshairs while the old-media dinosaurs are looking to subvert anti-trust restrictions.