Tackling Amazon’s monopoly power – joining the European Commission’s investigation into the Roomba deal
One of the difficulties of taking on exploitation and abuse of power by Big Tech is, not to put too fine a point on it, it’s so bloody big.
Why? Well, for far too long, tech companies have been allowed to swallow up their competitors with very little challenge from the people tasked with preventing any market from being dominated by a monopoly – competition watchdogs.
Monopolies are bad for everyone. They’re bad for business, bad for innovation and, most of all, bad for consumers who have fewer and fewer choices available about where to spend their money.
Foxglove has been banging this drum for a while but the problem isn’t going away. Once a monopoly is established, every further acquisition makes it harder to challenge. Just look at the recent decision by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which despite some promising early noises about probing Amazon’s attempt to hoover up iRobot, ultimately waved through the $1.7bn deal without challenge.
But the CMA is not the only game in town. The European Commission is investigating the merger too and, today, we’re stepping up our efforts to ask Brussels to stop Jeff Bezos tucking Roomba into his space boots.
Along with the Open Markets Institute and SOMO, Foxglove has formally applied for the “right to be heard” in the EC’s in-depth review of the Amazon/iRobot merger as “a legal person with sufficient interest in the Proposed Acquisition”.
Decoding the jargon: we’re asking the EC to allow us and our partners to present the evidence we’ve gained from our own investigation to their probe – which we hope will have a big impact on the final decision.
But this isn’t a fight that is going to be won just by civil society organisations kicking up a fuss on the continent. Huge public pressure is needed too, to demonstrate the strength of feeling of people who don’t want Bezos to be able to treat the world as his personal playbox, taking whatever he wants – no matter the cost to everyone else.
We’re planning a big opportunity for our supporters to get involved – and make your voice heard on this. Watch this space. We’ll be in touch soon.
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