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Google offers to keep Waze at arms length during antitrust review

Won't touch it
Fri Sep 20 2013, 15:04
Waze crowdsourcing navigation app logo

INTERNET GIANT Google has said that it will keep Waze at arms length until the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has completed its review of the acquisition.

The UK competition regulator published a statement on Friday revealing Google's concessions, which sees the internet search firm vowing not to "integrate the Google business with all or any part of the Waze business" until the formal review is complete.

This means that, for the time being at least, Waze will continue to function as a standalone app. 

Google also promised not to "impair the ability of the Google business or the Waze business to compete independently in any markets affected by the acquisition," and has said that it will warn if there are any substantial changes relating to staff, business plans or customer numbers for both itself or Waze.

The UK regulator said in a statement, "The undertakings are without prejudice to OFT's ongoing investigation into the completed acquisition by Google Inc. of Waze."

Despite these concessions, we have already seen some fruits of Google's $1.3bn Waze acquisition, with the Israeli mapping firm having integrated its traffic alerts service into Google Maps.

If the deal is approved, it's thought that Google will seek to integrate Waze fully into its own Maps services, but the company is yet to reveal its plans.

Google is also facing scrutiny from regulators in the US, with the Waze buyout also set to be reviewed by the US Federal Trade Commisson. This is likely because Google is already a leader in the navigation market, and following the announcement of its Waze buyout it has faced complaints accusing it of anticompetitive practices. µ

 

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