FTC Subpoenas Apple Records in Google Anti-trust Case (AAPL, GOOG, MSFT)

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reported to have subpoenaed documents from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) related to how the company incorporates the search engine from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) on Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The subpoena is part of the FTC’s investigation of anti-trust violations on Google’s part.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), with its Bing search engine, has been critical of the Apple-Google arrangement in the past.

Bloomberg News reports that unnamed sources say the federal agency wants documents related to the agreements between Apple and Google that resulted in Apple making Google’s search engine the default choice on Apple’s mobile devices. An anti-trust lawyer suggested that the details of the agreements “may show whether Google is abusing its dominance of Internet search to boost revenue in the mobile phone advertising market.”

Mobile searches are expected to surpass desktop searches in the next few years, and it is critical for Google to leverage its massive lead in desktop search to a similar position in mobile search. An FTC ruling against Google could have a serious impact on the company’s growth plans.

Paul Ausick