Word comes from the Financial Times today that US regulators are planning an antitrust investigation into Apple's iAd mobile advertising platform. At issue: the iAd terms and conditions that allow Apple to shut out Google entirely from its potent ecosystem.
It's been clear for some time that the FTC is keeping a close watch on iAd. Just last month, in fact, the specter of Apple's sizable iAd presence effectively enabled Google to purchase mobile ad giant AdMob without violating antitrust law. And while that AdMob deal consequently means that Apple hasn't created a monopoly here, it doesn't excuse the alleged anti-competitive behavior that AdMob and others have recently complained about.
What's not as clear is whether the investigation will lead to anything, or even who—between the FTC and the Department of Justice—will be running it. The details offered by the FT are scarce, and Apple's not talking. But if and when the case is opened, it'll be fascinating to watch play out. [FT via Engadget]