Experts warn that Amazon's acquisition of Rumba developer ``may be the most dangerous and threatening acquisition''

On August 5, 2022, local time, Amazon announced that it had signed a contract to acquire iRobot, which develops the robot vacuum cleaner Roomba, for about $ 1.7 billion (about 230 billion yen). In response, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), which provides technical assistance to communities on local solutions for sustainable community development in areas such as banking, broadband, energy, independent businesses and waste. Ron Knox points out that 'It could be the most dangerous and threatening acquisition in Amazon's history.'

Mr. Knox's argument is as follows.

``The robot vacuum cleaner Roomba developed by iRobot is a popular product all over the world, and it is said that more than 40 million Roombas are in operation.This means that for many people, Roomba is everywhere. Yes, and it's already become a part of everyday life.No one wants to go back to the way it was before vacuuming.' The interest is clear, but with the acquisition of iRobot, Amazon has a lot more to offer, many of which are rival products and huge datasets. and a new way to get involved in users' homes and lives.'

'First of all, if you're only worried about whether Amazon's acquisition of iRobot will hurt competition, the deal is bad because Amazon competes with iRobot's offerings, such as the Astro and Echo, in many aspects. , because this acquisition will remove Amazon's biggest rival from the market.' 'Jeff Bezos has made it clear that he wants Amazon to buy its way to domination. Buying Roomba, Combined with the enormous monopoly power underpinned by the Prime system, that's exactly what Amazon owns the Roomba brand, although there are other smart vacuum cleaner options out there right now. When it becomes, they will disappear.”

'Additionally, how will Amazon use Roomba to dominate the home robot market? Apply the same predatory pricing structure it uses to sell the likes of Echo and Kindle to Roomba.' It will be Amazon's way of doing predatory pricing to drive competitors out of the market and monopolize the market in the process.' 'This is also a straight data acquisition. Rumba's latest The version collects information about the house as it cleans, and the Roomba recognizes things like where to put furniture and the size of each room as it cleans.'

“This means that Amazon, which wants to know everything about the American consumer, probably has the most data on where people live, what they shop and what they eat. 'From a privacy standpoint, this is a nightmare. From an antitrust standpoint, Amazon, one of the most powerful data aggregators on the planet, You're going to get another huge, invasive dataset.'

``In this way, concerns about privacy and concerns about violating antitrust laws are closely related.A company (Amazon) that has cameras and microphones in speakers, doorbells, and security cameras understands the shape and contents of the house. Trying to buy a company (iRobot) that is doing business is bad on all counts.” “Finally, if regulators think of this merger as vertical integration, then as I said earlier, there are important and counterproductive factors here. I would argue that there is also a competitive horizontal element, and it should be challenged as such, even if the precedent is bad and it is hard to win.'

Mr. Knox's argument has two main points, ``Amazon, which has already released smart home products such as smart speakers, doorbells, and security cameras, will acquire Roomba's iRobot, which is a type of the same smart home product. One point is that it may lead to a monopoly in the market. The other is, 'If Amazon, which already collects a lot of user information, acquires Roomba's iRobot, which collects various information in the home, the user's privacy will be further compromised.' That's the point.

Multiple media reports that Amazon's acquisition of iRobot will allow Amazon to obtain information such as room layouts collected by Rumba, compromising user privacy. Technology media MotherBoard said, 'Rumba alone is not scary, but combining it with Amazon's vast monitoring infrastructure creates something more evil.By collecting data and connecting to Amazon's system, Amazon is constantly watching its users, getting involved in their lives, and trying to find ways to sell them something .'

The Verge said, 'Amazon already has four smart home brands (Echo, which mainly focuses on smart speakers and smart displays, Ring for home security, Blink for low-priced cameras, and Eero, a pioneer of mesh Wi-Fi). With iRobot, Amazon has everything it takes to create a smart home: predict what you want and do it without asking. It is also possible to do so, which is exactly what Amazon is already doing with Hunches .' However, at the same time, it points out that user privacy will be further compromised by improving the convenience of Amazon services. I'm here.

in Software,   Hardware, Posted by logu_ii