The FTC has announced its probe of Google and Apple will continue.

Originally the probe focused on Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Now that he has resigned from Apple's board, the probe will focus on former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson, who also serves on both boards.  (Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
FTC is convinced that issues may remain

Apple and Google's products overlap in numerous arenas.  Apple offers a browser -- Safari -- as does Google -- Chrome.  Apple has an entry in the phone market -- the iPhone -- which phones powered by Google's Android OS compete against.  And Google's Doc suite arguably competes with iLife.  Amazingly, until this week, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt saw it fit and proper to continue to serve as a member of Apple's Board of Directors, despite such conflicts of interest typically being deemed illegal and bringing down the wrath of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Sure enough, the pair is being investigated by the FTC.  The FTC announced today that it plans to continue the investigation despite Mr. Schmidt's resignation from Apple's board.  Richard Feinstein, director of the FTC's bureau of competition did praise the pair for moving to avoid anticompetitive positions, but says the investigation has been going on for "some time" and isn't about to end.

While Mr. Schmidt resigned, former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson sits on both boards as well, so issues remain.  States the FTC's Feinstein, "We will continue to investigate remaining interlocking directorates between the companies."

Consumer Watchdog, a consumer advocacy group which had attacked Mr. Schmidt over the conflict of interest, commented, "(W)e're glad Schmidt finally did the right thing. We call on Levinson to act responsibly and choose one company or the other. "

A former FTC antitrust attorney under the Clinton administration, who declined to be named, says Google is in the FTC's sights due to its dominant position in the search industry and that probing is likely to continue.  He states, "Google is in the sights of regulators.  This is just the first of many instances where they are going to encounter regulatory scrutiny.

The Federal Communications Commission is also investigating Apple, AT&T, and Google over the rejection of Google Voice for the iPhone.  AT&T today claimed it had no involvement in the rejection.  FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell commented on the inquiry, "Asking questions can't hurt.  Responses to the letters could be helpful."

"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken

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