A brand new letter penned by Senate and Home Democrats accuses Amazon of “anticompetitive” practices in its bid to buy Roomba-maker, iRobot, for $1.7 billion. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is main the cost to persuade the Federal Commerce Fee to reject the deal, in response to a report from Axios.
“Relatively than compete in a good market by itself deserves, Amazon is following a well-known anticompetitive playbook: leveraging its huge market share and entry to capital to purchase or suppress well-liked merchandise,” notes the letter cosigned by fellow congressional Democrats, Mondaire Jones, Mark Pocan Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia, Pramila Jayapal and Katie Porter.
The report arrives throughout a second of elevated regulatory scrutiny for the web retail big. Each the deliberate iRobot and One Medical offers have raised antitrust issues amongst lawmakers. The FTC has notable already been investigating each. Amazon has seemingly been extra aggressively pursuing acquisitions beneath new CEO Andy Jassy, at a time when the regulatory physique has pushed to dam comparable offers by huge tech. Most notably, FTC chairwoman Lina Khan not too long ago sued to dam Meta/Fb’s acquisition of VR agency, Inside Limitless, citing anticompetitive issues.
The deal is on the middle of Amazon’s plans to aggressively push into the house robotics class, in a lot the identical method its 2012 acquisition of Kiva Techniques helped it develop into a dominant power in industrial robotics. Amazon’s providing within the class is at present restricted to the house robotic Astro, however folding iRobot into the division would discover the agency dominating the area in a single day. iRobot’s Roomba is the uncommon dwelling robotic that has managed to interrupt into mainstream use.
Given Amazon’s historical past and iRobot’s dwelling mapping, the deal has additionally raised concern amongst privateness advocates.
TechCrunch has reached out to each Amazon and Senator Warren’s workplace for remark.