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FTC seeks Apple testimony in Google antitrust probe

Federal regulators have reportedly taken an interest in the deal between Apple and Google that makes the search engine Safari's default.

The search options on Apple's Safari browser on iOS.
The search options on Apple's Safari browser on iOS.
Josh Lowensohn/CNET

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has reportedly taken an interest in the mobile side of a business relationship between Apple and Google, and wants it on the record.

Citing two people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that the U.S. regulatory group has subpoenaed Apple in hopes of getting details about its mobile-search deal with Google. That includes information on the agreement that has made Google the default search engine on Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPhone since 2007, the report said.

The subpoena, which Apple did not confirm or comment on to Bloomberg, is part of a larger investigation by the FTC to figure out whether Google has used unfair or deceptive business practices. The FTC and the U.S. Senate already have investigations under way focused on concerns that Google unfairly promotes its own services in its search results.

A Google spokesman declined comment on the report.

While Google has long been the default search engine on Apple's iOS, there are other options. In the United States, that includes Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing, the latter of which became an option in mid-2010. Just ahead of that addition, there was a rumor that Microsoft had won a deal with Apple to become the iPhone's default search provider, although it was quickly squashed.

Updated at 2:47 p.m. with note of Google declining to comment.