Amazon’s iRobot Acquisition Raises Antitrust Concerns in EU

Amazon’s Acquisition of iRobot Raises Antitrust Concerns in European Union

The European Union has formally raised concerns about Amazon’s proposed acquisition of iRobot, the robot vacuum maker, citing potential competition issues. This move highlights the continued scrutiny of antitrust regulators towards the deal, which may lead Amazon to offer solutions to address the concerns and secure the acquisition.

Despite Amazon’s previous price reduction for iRobot due to regulatory hurdles, the EU has been closely monitoring the acquisition since July, focusing on its potential impact on the market for robot vacuum cleaners (RVCs) and Amazon’s position as an online marketplace provider. The formal objections sent to Amazon highlight the EU’s concerns about potential foreclosure risks.

The concerns center around the fear that Amazon could limit competition by restricting iRobot’s rivals’ ability to sell RVCs on its marketplace, ultimately leading to higher prices, lower quality, and less innovation for consumers. The EU’s investigation included views from various market participants and cooperation with other competition authorities to understand the broader impact of the acquisition.

Amazon’s response to the EU’s objections emphasized iRobot’s competition in the RVC market, while the EU’s continued scrutiny reflects its commitment to ensuring fair competition and consumer welfare. This development also comes in light of Amazon’s designation as a gatekeeper under the EU’s Digital Markets Act, imposing strict obligations on the company to prevent self-preferencing on its marketplace.

The concerns raised by the EU demonstrate the ongoing efforts to regulate big tech companies and ensure a level playing field for competition, setting the stage for potential remedies and a closer examination of the Amazon-iRobot deal.

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