Apple Subpoenaed By FTC As Part Of Google Probe

  @DavidZie on March 14 2012 9:04 AM

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the iPad developer, received a subpoena from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission  as part of its probe into practices of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), a report said.

The FTC, which has been known to be looking at Google, the No. 1 search engine, for about 18 months, wants information about how Apple makes search information available on the iPad as well as the iPhone, a Bloomberg report said.

Apple, in Cupertino, Calif., had no comment. Google, in Mountain View, Calif., had no comment but has in the past acknowledged both the FTC and the European Commission are looking at its practices.

Apple has used Google on the iPhone since it was introduced in 2007 and the iPad since its 2009 introduction for search as well as for maps.

For years, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt served as an Apple director but he quit in 2009 when the FTC said it would look into relationships between the two companies. Subsequently, Google has beefed up its legal staff and hired some former officials from the FTC as well as the Justice Department.

Any FTC investigation could be costly and involve both Apple, the world's most valuable company, and Google, in expensive and time-consuming lawsuits. Conceivably, the FTC or the Justice Department could bring antitrust cases against either or both companies.

Last year, in an indication it was taking a tougher approach, the Obama Administration sued to bar AT&T's (NYSE: T) attempt  to acquire T-Mobile USA from its German parent on grounds it would stifle competition. Rather than face a trial that would have begun last month, AT&T quashed the takeover in December.

Shares of Apple were rose $11.82 to $579.82 in early Wednesday trading while shares of Google fell 76 cents to $617.06.

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