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Google's Waze acquisition faces FTC antitrust probe

Firm could be asked not to integrate service into Google Maps
Mon Jun 24 2013, 10:30
Waze crowdsourcing navigation app logo

INTERNET GIANT Google's $1.1bn acquisition of navigation firm Waze will be reviewed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to check that the deal won't harm the firm's competition.

The Wall Street Journal reported, having heard confirmation from Google, that the FTC has contacted the company about its recent acquisition of mapping firm Waze. Apparently Google didn't file for a review with the FTC before announcing the buyout because Waze turns over less than $70 million annually, which is below the bar for an automatic review.

While lawyers told the newspaper that the US antitrust regulator is unlikely to throw out the deal, as it's unlikely to conclude that Google's Waze buyout will significant harm other mapping services such as Bing Maps and Tomtom, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC might direct Google not to integrate Waze with its own services.

The FTC apparently will also consider whether Google is buying Waze to eliminate a potential future competitor, looking at whether the navigation firm would have managed to challenge Google Maps. At present, Waze's revenues are too low for the company to be considered a credible threat.

Google announced its acquisition of Waze earlier this month, and said that the navigation service will continue to operate as a standalone app. It's not clear what plans Google has for Waze in the long run, but assuming it gets FTC approval, it's likely to add the Israeli firm's traffic data into its own mapping service.

Google declined to comment further. µ


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