FTC digs into Amazon’s iRobot deal

The next step would be to formally open a full investigation into the iRobot deal, which people say is expected given detailed questioning from agency officials. Both were granted anonymity to discuss a confidential investigation.

The FTC’s iRobot review is broad, one of the people said, including both direct competition and whether the deal will illegally increase Amazon’s market share in both the market. connected devices and in the retail market in general. Amazon also sells a high-end robot vacuum that failed to catch on with consumers. The FTC is also investigating how the purchase would add to Amazon’s growing lineup of smart devices, which also includes Ring security cameras and the Alexa digital assistant.

Among the concerns the FTC is investigating is whether the data generated about a consumer’s home by iRobot’s Roomba vacuum will give them an unfair advantage over a wide variety of other retailers. This concern was voiced by several critics of the deal when it was first announced earlier this month. For example, Amazon might have an advantage with a consumer looking to buy a couch, using detailed maps generated by iRobot to suggest particular items.

And iRobot’s review comes as the FTC also goes further in reviewing another deal. Friday, 1Life Healthcare – which operates the primary care provider One Medical – revealed that the FTC had opened an in-depth review into its takeover by Amazon. The two deals were announced less than three weeks apart this summer.

One Medical is a membership-based primary care provider with locations across the United States. Amazon is switch off a similar service, a fact that could attract censorship from the FTC, which could interpret this decision as Amazon’s choice to buy a competitor rather than compete with it.

In the One Medical deal, the FTC asks questions about what data Amazon would have access to, asking insurance companies and others about how One Medical’s patient data would potentially give it an edge over competitors and customers, according to someone with knowledge of the review. . This person was granted anonymity because this information is part of the confidential investigation.

The FTC, One Medical and iRobot did not immediately respond to comments.

Amazon declined to comment on either view. The company reiterated its past statements on both agreements, saying it will use all necessary safeguards for consumer data, including healthcare information.


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