May 28, 2023

Brighton Journal

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FTC digs into Amazon iRobot deal

FTC digs into Amazon iRobot deal

The next step would be to open an in-depth official investigation into the iRobot deal, which people said is to be expected given detailed questions from agency officials. Both were granted anonymity to discuss a classified investigation.

One person said the FTC’s iRobot review is extensive, including direct competition and whether the deal would illegally boost Amazon’s market share in both the connected device market and the retail market in general. Amazon also sells a high-end robotic vacuum that has failed to attract customers. The FTC is also studying how it will add the purchase to Amazon’s growing lineup of smart devices, which also includes Ring security cameras and 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 it an unfair advantage over a wide range of other retailers. Many critics of the deal expressed that concern when it was first announced early this month. For example, Amazon could have an advantage with a consumer looking to buy a sofa, using detailed home maps created by iRobot for certain suggested items.

The iRobot review comes as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is pushing further scrutiny of another deal. On Friday, 1Life Healthcare – which operates the primary care provider One Medical – revealed that the FTC has opened an in-depth review of its acquisition 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 US on Amazon Close A similar service, a fact that could draw blame from the Federal Trade Commission, which could explain the move as Amazon choosing to buy a competitor rather than competing with it.

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In one medical deal, the Federal Trade Commission is asking questions about the data Amazon has access to, and inquiring about insurers and others about how One Medical’s patient data could give it an advantage over competitors and customers, according to a person familiar with this review. This person has been granted anonymity as this information is part of the confidential investigation.

The FTC, One Medical and iRobot did not immediately respond for comment.

Amazon declined to comment on either offer. The company reiterated its previous statements about both deals, saying it would use all necessary safeguards for consumer data, including healthcare information.