EU Commission – don’t let Amazon gobble up iRobot!

In late 2022, Amazon bought iRobot for a whopping $1.7 billion. iRobot is the maker of the Roomba, the world’s most popular robot hoover. This is part of Amazon’s attempt to buy its way in to our homes, to consolidate its monopoly over the ‘smart home’ market and step-up surveillance of customers.

Amazon already spies on our doorsteps and listens in on our dinner conversations – hoovering up iRobot would put Amazon inside our living rooms. That’s why, together with our partners, we’ve taken further steps to stop Amazon’s attempts to gobble up iRobot.

We’re working with a brand-new anti-monopoly coalition including the Open Markets InstituteSOMO and the Balanced Economy Project – and together we’ve written to the European Commission asking them for a full investigation. 

The US Federal Trade Investigation has already started its investigation and we’ve already written to the UK’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority asking them to investigate this and to put a pause on this acquisition.

Now, you might be thinking, monopolies and acquisitions – is that really an important thing to be focusing on when we’re seeing the visceral consequences of Big Tech’s abuses of power and exploitation of its workers play out around the world? 

The answer – yes, it absolutely is. As we’ve said before: we see the movement against tech monopoly as THE most important part of the fight to make tech fair. It’s a huge deal.

As so often: ‘it’s not a bug, it’s a feature’. So much of the ability of Big Tech to get away with its exploitation, its brutal unfair practices and its contempt for the lives of its workers, comes from the total domination of the markets it works in.

We’re particularly concerned about Amazon taking over iRobot because it will deepen Amazon’s retail and consumer data lakes, bolster its unmatched market dominance, and cause harm to consumers and competition. You can read more about our thoughts on monopoly and big tech here.

We can’t solve the crisis caused by the tech giants until we break up their monopolies. For too long, a handful of corporations have controlled huge swathes of our economy and has fuelled a host of other problems from surveillance to worker abuse. 

You can read our full submission to the European Commission here and our full submission to the Competition Markets Authority seeking an investigation here

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