The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly asked Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) to supply information as part of its investigation into whether Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has become an illegal monopoly.
The antitrust investigation first came to light last summer and was expanded this year in response to Google’s expanding footprint into areas like social networking.
News of the Apple subpoena was reported today by Bloomberg News which claims the FTC is:
seeking information on how the computer maker uses the search engine on the iPhone and iPad, two people familiar with the matter said.
Reached by phone, a spokesperson for the Federal Trade Commission would not confirm or deny the report, saying the FTC never comments about investigations.
It would not be a surprise if the FTC is talking to Apple given that the federal government regularly speaks with competitors in order to determine whether a company is violating Section 2 of the Sherman Act — the section that deals with illegal monopolies.
To determine if Google is in violation, the FTC must find that the company has monopoly power and that it is abusing that power.