The European Commission is concerned about the acquisition of Amazon iRobot

The European Commission has expressed concerns regarding Amazon’s proposed acquisition of iRobot, fearing that the deal could limit competition in the robot vacuum cleaner market and strengthen Amazon’s dominance as an online marketplace provider. The EU regulator is currently investigating whether Amazon’s access to iRobot users’ data would provide the company with an unfair advantage in online services, including advertising services, and other related markets.

In response, Amazon spokeswoman Alexandra Miller stated, “iRobot, which faces intense competition from other vacuum cleaner suppliers, offers practical and inventive products. We believe Amazon can offer such a company the resources to accelerate innovation and invest in important features while lowering prices for consumers.”

The European Commission has until November 15th to make a decision on whether to block the agreement. Amazon announced its intention to acquire iRobot in August of last year. Should the deal proceed, iRobot’s Roomba products would join Amazon’s existing line of smart home devices, which already includes popular brands such as Ring, Blink, and Eero. Amazon has also developed the widely used Alexa voice assistant, which controls various aspects of the smart home ecosystem.

Following the announcement of the acquisition plans, Amazon’s Dave Limp expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “Excited to work with the iRobot team to build capabilities that make customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable.”

While the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has already approved Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot, the European Commission is taking a closer look at potential competition concerns. The UK regulator determined that the agreement would not significantly impact competition within the country, as iRobot faces several significant competitors in the robot vacuum cleaner space and the UK market for such devices is relatively small, with limited growth expected in the future.

Furthermore, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also investigating Amazon’s agreement with iRobot. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that the regulator had requested documents from both companies to verify information about the deal. Additionally, a group of Democratic lawmakers has called on the FTC to initiate a formal investigation. The focus of the investigation is likely to center more on competition concerns rather than privacy issues, as highlighted by the Financial Times.

As the European Commission continues its examination of the acquisition, the outcome will have significant implications for the robot vacuum cleaner market and Amazon’s position as a dominant player in the online marketplace. The decision will be closely watched by industry observers and stakeholders alike, as it will shape the future landscape of competition in this sector and potentially influence regulatory actions in other jurisdictions.