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US FTC drags Apple into Google antitrust probe

Trade watchdog is interested in mobile search deals
Wed Mar 14 2012, 11:40

SELLER OF SHINY TOYS Apple has been subpoenaed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as part of its on-going antitrust investigation of Google.

Bloomberg has reported that two sources familiar with the case have revealed that the FTC probe of Apple centres on how the cappuccino company integrates Google's search services with its Iphone and Ipad devices.

The FTC's subpoena demands documents including agreements made between Google and Apple that saw the internet search outfit's technology selected as the default service on Apple's devices.

The sources behind the report were unnamed as they "weren't authorised to speak publicly and declined to be identified". They added that Apple has not been singled out by the trade watchdog as it has also issued subpoenas to other mobile phone manufactures and wireless carriers as part of its investigation.

Details of Apple's Google deals could shed light on whether Google has abused its internet search dominance in the mobile advertising market, Allen Grunes, an antitrust lawyer in Washington, DC told Bloomberg.

"As mobile search gets more widespread, the default setting becomes more significant," said Grunes.

The FTC move comes after US Senators wrote to the trade regulator expressing concerns about Google's internet dominance.

As we reported, Senator Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, and Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, wrote to the FTC saying that, although they cannot pin anything anti-competitive on the internet search and advertising giant, the FTC might, if it takes the time to look at Google properly.

Apple has declined to comment. µ



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