A new Federal Trade Commission inquiry is looking into the close ties between the boards of Apple and Google, with the two tech giants sharing a number of directors.

Notably, Eric E. Schmidt, chief exec of Google, and Arthur Levinson, the 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," notes the NY Times.

Google versus Obama

Understandably, the FTC, Apple, Google and Genentech have all declined to comment on the inquiry.

Anti-trust lawyer Sanford Litvack said that he doesn't "expect Google to either be singled out or to receive a free pass because of Schmidt's relationship with the [Obama] administration."

And what with Google facing up against Apple in the mobile phone, netbook/laptops, media players and browser markets, neither company will want to see any adverse publicity thrown up by the latest FTC inquiry.

Via the New York Times