The move comes as part of a broader trend of increased scrutiny over tech mergers and acquisitions, signaling that regulators are taking a closer look at the implications of these deals. The European Commission and the US Federal Trade Commission have expressed concerns about privacy issues and market power concerning the proposed acquisition.
The European Union’s antitrust regulators are particularly interested in the $1.7bn acquisition because of the Roomba’s ability to capture images while moving around a home, which has implications for data privacy.
The regulators will investigate the deal and how it could combine the data already gathered with Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant technology, to gain a competitive edge.
Concerns continue to rise
In December, MIT Technology Review reported that a development version of the Roomba captured intimate images during tests. iRobot has suspended its relationship with the service provider processing the data and is investigating the issue.
Tech giants such as Facebook have previously acquired other companies, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, with relatively little regulation, despite the groups holding the personal data of millions of users worldwide.
However, as concerns about data privacy and market power continue to increase, regulators are taking a closer look at the implications of these mergers and acquisitions.
More antitrust action could be on the way
The data practices of big tech companies such as Apple and Meta are also being closely scrutinized. The increased regulatory scrutiny will likely lead to more stringent antitrust regulations on big tech mergers and acquisitions. This will require tech companies to be more transparent about their data practices and ensure they do not abuse their market power.
The investigation into Amazon’s proposed acquisition of iRobot is just the beginning. We expect more antitrust action against big tech companies in the coming months and years.
Also read: EC to examine proposed acquisition of Figma by Adobe