The New York Times (via Daring Fireball) reports that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking into whether the ties between Apple and Google's respective Boards of Directors violate Section 8 of the Clayton Antitrust Act.

The provision is designed to prevent two rival companies from acting in concert to reduce competition. While Google and Apple have rival mobile phone platforms and cloud services, iPhone vs. Android and Gmail (etc.) vs. MobileMe, Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt is on Apple's board of directors and the iPhone makes use of Google technology such as the built-in Google Maps, Google Search, etc.

According to the NYT, however:

Antitrust experts say that investigations of interlocking directorates rarely lead to major confrontations between companies and the government. Executives typically choose to resign from the board of a competitor if it poses a problem rather than face a lengthy investigation or a bruising legal fight.

The article also points out the "closeness" of Google to the Obama administration, and how that "closeness" doesn't seem to offer Google any insulation from the FTC.