Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot, the manufacturer of Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners, is facing scrutiny from regulatory authorities not only in the United States but also in Europe. The European Commission has recently announced that it has launched an in-depth investigation into the $1.7 billion purchase, expressing concerns about potential anti-competitive practices in the robotic vacuum cleaner market.
The primary worry of the commission is that Amazon’s ownership of iRobot could result in a restriction of competition. Specifically, the commission is concerned that Amazon might impede iRobot’s rivals from selling their own robot vacuums on its marketplace. This apprehension arises from the possibility that Amazon could give preferential treatment to iRobot’s products in search results, both paid and unpaid, or charge higher advertising fees to competitors. These actions could create an unfair advantage for iRobot, potentially limiting consumer choice and competition in the market.