Apple Could Face Antitrust Probe

Apple may face an antitrust probe into its mobile advertising strategy.
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CUPERTINO, Calif. (

TheStreet

) --

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

may face an antitrust probe into its

mobile advertising strategy

amid growing concern about the impact on companies such as

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

and

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

.

The

Financial Times

reports that regulators are planning to investigate whether Apple is unfairly restricting competitors in the ad market. Citing two people close to the matter, the newspaper reports that regulators have already taken an interest in Apple's actions, although it is not yet clear whether the

Federal Trade Commission

or

DoJ

will move forward with an investigation.

Mobile advertising is an increasingly high priority for Apple. Earlier this week the tech giant unveiled

iAds

, its own mobile advertising network, which will go live on July 1. Speaking at Monday's new iPhone launch, Apple CEO Steve Jobs explained that the company had already booked about $60 million of revenue for iAds.

There is, however, concern that new

developer terms could effectively bar some third-party apps

from collecting information on how ads perform on mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

If enforced, Apple's new terms would prohibit app developers from using AdMob and Google's advertising solutions on the iPhone, wrote Omar Hamoui, AdMob's founder and Google vice president, on the company's blog.

"Artificial barriers to competition hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress," explained Hamoui. "We'll be speaking to Apple to express our concerns about the impact of these terms."

Apple has not yet responded to

TheStreet's

request for comment on this story.

This is not the first time Apple and Google have clashed over advertising efforts. Last month there was a

report

that

Apple's new policy requiring iPad and iPhone software developers to use only Apple programming tools

had aroused the attention of antitrust regulators.

Apple and Google are clearly set on a collision course. Last year

Google CEO Eric Schmidt stepped down from the Apple board

, underlining the changing dynamic between the two companies. With Google throwing its weight behind its Android and Chrome operating systems and Apple launching its new iOS operating system, the two companies are increasingly going head-to-head.

Apple shares rose $3.99, or 1.64%, to $247.19 on Thursday, mirroring the broader advance in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq rise 1.9%. Google's stock was also in the ascendant, rising $8.52, or 1.8%, to $482.54.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

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