Amazon’s $1.7 billion acquisition of robot vacuum cleaner maker iRobot could reduce competition and strengthen Amazon’s position as a service provider in the online marketplace. EU antitrust regulators warned about this, writes Reuters.
With this in mind, the European Commission has launched a full-scale investigation and will decide by November 15 whether to allow or block the deal.
“The Commission is concerned that the transaction would allow Amazon to restrict competition in the market for robot vacuum cleaners and to strengthen its position as online marketplace provider, ” the EU executive said.
For its part, Amazon notes that it is focused on solving any possible problems related to it.
“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,” an Amazon spokesperson told Reuters.
The deal was announced last August. Its implementation will add iRobot’s Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner to Amazon’s portfolio of smart devices. It now has the Alexa voice assistant, smart thermostats, security devices and wall-mounted smart displays.
iRobot released its first robotic vacuum cleaner Roomba in 2002. Amazon has previously said that the vacuum cleaner market is very competitive, with many Chinese players.
By the way, antimonopoly authorities around the world have increased control over the takeover of smaller competitors by technological giants. They are concerned about the accumulation of vast amounts of data by a few companies, as well as the fact that large players are using their dominance in new markets.