The Federal Trade Commission has begun an inquiry into whether the close ties between the boards of two of technology’s most prominent companies, Apple and Google, amount to a violation of antitrust laws, reports the New York Times. Apple and Google share two directors, Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, and Arthur Levinson, former chief executive of Genentech. The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 prohibits a person’s presence on the board of two rival companies when it would reduce competition between them. The two companies increasingly compete in the cell phone and operating systems markets. Antitrust experts say the provision against "interlocking directorates" is rarely enforced. Nevertheless, the FTC has notified Google and Apple of its interest in the matter, according to people briefed on the inquiry. The inquiry, which appears to be in its early stages, is the second antitrust examination involving Google to have surfaced in recent days. It suggests that despite the company’s closeness to the Obama administration, Google will not escape scrutiny from regulators…

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