Through Wednesday's antitrust settlement with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), regulators in the U.S. sent a strong signal to IT companies trying to exercise monopoly power over their products and could be setting its sights on others.

People shop inside an Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) store in central London in this March 29, 2006 file photo. Apple said it launched a new version of its lowest-priced computer, Mac mini, with twice the graphics performance and lower power usage, from $699.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission settled an antitrust suit with Intel on Wednesday. The suit charged that Intel illegally stifled competition in the market for computer chips. Under the settlement, Intel will be prohibited from offering rebates and other benefits to computer makers in exchange for their promise to buy chips from Intel exclusively or to refuse to buy chips from others.

The FTC has also been keeping an eye on Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), which hold dominant positions in online search and operating systems. Regulators are also said to be looking at whether Apple is shutting out third parties such as Google and Microsoft from selling ads on the iPhone and iPad, according to a recent report in the Financial Times.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple, which is cashing in on the immense popularity of its iPhones and iPads, has come under fire for restricting the options for downloading music and applications. Apple also decided not to support some external tools like Adobe's (Nasdaq: ADBE) popular Flash on the iPhone and iPad.

In a statement released in April, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said Apple wants to insure the quality of the apps offered in its app store. In addition, the decision not to support Flash was technical, based in part on the fact that both iPads and iPhones use touch screens. Many Flash-based advertisements on the Web use "rollovers" - in which an advertisement pops up when the mouse cursor is over a specific spot. That would not work well with touch screens, which have no mouse.

E-book publishers have also come under scrutiny. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said this week that he is investigating agreements between the country's largest e-book publishers and two of the largest sellers -- Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Apple  -- that may block competitors from offering cheaper e-book prices.

Intel and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple, Adobe Systems, and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. The Fool owns shares of and has written puts on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.