The European Commission is looking into Amazon’s $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot, which sells Roomba vacuums, due to worries about competition in the robotic vacuum sector.
The European Commission is concerned that Amazon may restrict iRobot’s competitors’ ability to sell their products on its platform, and that Amazon may prioritize iRobot’s products in search results or demand a higher price for promoting competing products.
Furthermore, authorities are concerned that Amazon may prevent iRobot’s competitors from using impending Alexa APIs and obtaining the “Works with Alexa” certification. This is due to the fact that voice control with the assistant is a big selling point for robotic vacuums.
The commission is also looking into the potential benefit Amazon may get in the online marketplace and data-related sectors by obtaining iRobot users’ data, which could give them an unfair advantage. Amazon might use this information to better personalize and target its advertisements. This may make it more difficult for Amazon’s competitors to enter the market, thereby harming customers.
“We continue to work through the process with the European Commission and are focused on addressing its questions and any identified concerns at this stage,” said Amazon spokesperson Alexandra Miller in a statement.
“iRobot, which faces intense competition from other vacuum cleaner suppliers, offers practical and inventive products,” she noted. We believe Amazon can provide a firm like iRobot with the resources it needs to drive innovation and invest in essential features while lowering customer pricing.”
The European Commission will address the concerns by collaborating with other competition authorities, with a deadline of November 15th to finalize its findings. The US Federal Trade Commission also launched a probe into Amazon’s purchase last year.
In August of last year, Amazon announced the acquisition of iRobot. It already owns Ring, Blink, and Eero, among other smart home firms.
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