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Google Confirms FTC Is Asking Questions About Waze

It's unclear if there is a formal investigation yet

A Google spokeswoman confirmed Monday that the company had been contacted by the Federal Trade Commission about its purchase of Waze, but deferred to the FTC to confirm whether there is an investigation. The FTC had no comment about the acquisition.

Google's $1.1 billion acquisition of mobile mapping application Waze has raised eyebrows among consumer groups worried that the Internet company is picking off its competitors one by one.

News of a possible investigation into the acquisition was first reported by the New York Post

In a letter sent last week to the FTC and Department of Justice, Consumer Watchdog said that if the government didn't scrutinize the deal and put restrictions on Google, it would "remove the most viable competitor to Google Maps in the mobile space ... and allow Google access to even more data about online activity in a way that will increase its dominant position on the Internet," said John Simpson, the group's privacy project director.

Google completed the deal this month without federal approval because Waze's U.S. revenue was too low to meet the government's threshold for merger reviews. Still, the FTC could take a look at the deal for anticompetitive business practices.

It doesn't help Google's case that Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze, described Google as its only competitor during an All Things Digital conference last month. "We feel that we're the only reasonable competition to [Google] in this market of creating maps that are really geared for mobile, for real-time, for consumers, for the new world that we're moving into."
 

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