The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether the close ties between Apple’s and Google’s boards of directors violates antitrust laws, the New York Times reports.
Apple and Google share two directors, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and former Genetech CEO Arthur Levinson. According to the story (free subscription required):
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 story goes on to say that the so-called “interlocking directorates” provision of the Clayton Act, is rarely enforced, but that the FTC has already notified Apple and Google of its interest in the two companies.
Schmidt has been on Apple’s board since August 2006, while Levinson has served on the board since 2000.