FTC Pulls Apple Into Google Antitrust Probe With Subpoena
March 14, 2012 4:10 PM
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The FTC has subpoenaed Apple looking for documents that contain agreements between Apple and Google regarding Apple's mobile devices using Google services
Apple was recently subpoenaed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for information on its use of the Google search engine as the default on iPhones and iPads.
Apple and Google have a bit of a strange relationship. The two shared board members over the last decade, including Eric Schmidt. They were connected this way for a period of time until Google developed the
Android mobile operating system
to compete with the iPhone.
FTC began investigating the sharing of board members in 2009
and whether it violated antitrust laws, and Schmidt ended up leaving the board that same year. From there, rivalry between the two has heightened due to Apple launching lawsuits against phone makers like Samsung, HTC and Motorola, who run Android on their phones.
Just last year, the FTC started investigating Google in an effort to find whether the company increases advertising rates for competitors unfairly and ranks search results to benefit its own businesses. Now, the FTC is pulling Apple into the equation regarding its default settings, which includes the Google search engine.
Apple has had Google as the default search setting since the iPhone launched in 2007 and since the iPad originally released in 2010. Google Maps is also used on both of these devices over any other map service.
The FTC is also curious as to whether Google is purposely stifling competition by partnering with Apple to keep Android and iOS in the top ranks of the mobile realm.
The FTC has subpoenaed Apple looking for documents that contain agreements between Apple and Google regarding Apple's mobile devices using Google services. It hopes to uncover details regarding their relationship and whether Google is using Apple's devices to crush competition unfairly.
"As mobile search gets more widespread, the default setting becomes more significant," said Allen Grunes, an antitrust lawyer at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP.
According to comScore, an Internet market research firm, Google took the top spot in Internet search in February 2012 with 66.4 percent of the market. By the end of last year, Apple had sold 183 million iPhones and
55 million iPads
. The two coming together could surely take over the market, as they already have to an extent.
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RE: Not quite accurate
3/14/2012 7:10:46 PM
Apple has a history of this anyway... be really popular for awhile because you're ahead of the curve, keep things expensive while cheaper just as effective/better alternatives come about, go into denial mode overdrive for a decade, and try again.
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