Wednesday, November 30, 2022
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Amazon’s Roomba Maker iRobot Acquisition Under FTC Scrutiny

Amazon acquires iRobot for $1.7 billion is being closely watched by the Federal Trade Commission, the maker of Roomba robotic vacuums said in a new presentation published on Tuesday.

“On September 19, 2022, iRobot and Amazon each received a request for additional information and documentary materials” about the merger, says the notice, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The request for more information indicates that the deal is being closely scrutinized by the FTC, according to CNN. Amazon declined to comment, and the FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The scrutiny comes as Amazon awaits approval of a separate acquisition of One Medical. The FTC has also sent a second request to Amazon and 1Life Healthcare, the parent company of One Medical, as part of their review of the settlement.

Lawmakers and regulators concerned with issues of monopoly power have Big Tech companies on their sites. The FTC is headed by Lina Khan, who asked antitrust questions raised by Amazon and other tech companies a special focus of her legal fellowship before she became president of the agency. Amazon has called for Khan to recuse himself of investigations involving Amazon. In June 2021, US senators proposed a list of antitrust laws which targeted the practices of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook parent company Meta, among others.

After Amazon agreed to acquire iRobot in August, a group of organizations, including Fight for the Future, Color of Change and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, expressed concern in an open letter about Amazon’s acquisition of a competitor in the field of home robotics, as well as the possibility of adding information about the homes of Roomba users to its horde of consumer data.

“The deal will further entrench Amazon’s control of the smart home technology ecosystem, eliminate competition in that sector and enhance the company’s monopoly power,” the groups said in the letter.

Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of Amazon Devices, said in a statement last month that the company was drawn to iRobot’s history of innovation.

“For many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent the way people clean with products that are incredibly convenient and resourceful,” Limp said in the release, “from cleaning when and where customers want while avoiding obstacles common in the home, even automatically emptying the collection bin”.

So read: The best robot vacuum cleaner of 2022



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