John Batelle

Feds eye Apple-Google ad war

June 10, 2010: 7:07 AM ET

A dispute that broke out Monday has already caught the eye of antitrust regulators

Steve Jobs at WWDC

That didn't take long.

On Monday, Apple (AAPL) changed the rules that govern its new iAd mobile advertising platform to exclude competitors like Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT).

On Wednesday, Google took the matter public, blasting Apple for setting "artificial barriers to competition [that] hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress."

On Thursday, the Financial Times, citing two unnamed sources "close to the situation," reported that U.S. antitrust regulators plan to investigate whether Apple is unfairly restricting its smartphone rivals from syphoning off some of what is expected to be a torrent of revenue from ads that run on iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.

The dispute, which stems from a change in an obscure clause in Apple's developers agreement, has split the high tech community.

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