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Apple, Google not out of regulatory woods yet

FTC scrutiny continues despite Schmidt's Apple resignation

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The US Federal Trade Commission is continuing to probe whether overlapping board seats between Google and Apple might somehow stifle market competition, despite the fact that Eric Schmidt has now resigned.

Google's boss was cut loose from Apple's board of directors yesterday, after the Jobsian outfit pointed out the blindingly obvious "conflict of interest" issues that might have arisen had Schmidt outstayed his welcome.

Meanwhile the FTC patted the two tech titans on the back yesterday for finally cutting some ties at Apple's top table.

However, the watchdog also confirmed it would continue with its investigation into the once hot coupling, that in recent weeks has started to look somewhat icy.

“We have been investigating the Google/Apple interlocking directorates issue for some time and commend them for recognising that sharing directors raises competitive issues, as Google and Apple increasingly compete with each other,” said Bureau of Competition Director Richard Feinstein.

“We will continue to investigate remaining interlocking directorates between the companies.”

Ex-Genetech CEO Arthur Levinson holds a directorship on the board of both firms, which might explain why Schmidt's resignation hasn't been enough to convince the FTC to call off the hounds. ®

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