US subpoenas Apple on Google Mobile Search?

14 Mar 2012

Apple store in New York

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has subpoenaed Apple, seeking information on how it integrates Google Mobile Search on the iPad and the iPhone, according to a report on Bloomberg this morning.

Bloomberg cited “two people familiar with the matter” as having said the FTC has subpoenaed Apple as part of its antitrust investigation of Google.

Apparently, the FTC is seeking information about the agreements that made Google the preferred search engine on Apple mobile devices.

When the iPhone came onto the market in 2007, Google became the default search engine for Apple’s mobile device. Google has also been the default search engine on the iPad since it debuted in 2010.

FTC antitrust probe into Google

The FTC’s broader antitrust investigation into Google kicked off in 2011. For instance, last June Google received a number of subpoenas by US federal authorities based on an investigation into whether the company was abusing its dominance in web search advertising.

The FTC and Google probe has been heightening of late. In mid-February, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google and others had used a special code that tricked Apple’s Safari browser into letting them monitor user behaviour.

It spurred three lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives to call on the FTC to investigate whether the internet giant was violating a consent agreement it reached with the FTC last year.

Then, in late February, tech giants Microsoft, Google, Apple, Amazon, Research in Motion, Hewlett-Packard, as well as developers on their platforms, agreed to provide greater privacy disclosures before users download mobile apps.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic