back to article Amazon's robo vacuum power grab sucks EU attention

The European Commission (EC) has announced an in-depth investigation into Amazon's proposed acquisition of iRobot over concerns it may restrict competition in the robot vacuum cleaner market. Amazon's $1.7 billion takeover was announced almost a year ago, in August 2022, but the EC has now decided that a full investigation is …

  1. spold Silver badge

    It sucks

    So it could roam around your house and upload your Personal Information (including video) to Amazon. We have added condoms to your shopping list....

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: It sucks

      That'd suck...

  2. jmch Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Monopolist will monopolise

    Amazon's trusty modus operandi - If this goes ahead, anyone even sniffing around a robovacuum will be directed to a vast selection of various types of Roomba, priced at a very low margin. All the other vacuums will be there for sale of course, and a user could even probably find them after a few hours dedicated digging and searching (no doubt with special offers on Roombas cropping up all over the search results). Then, cue lengthy court cases with a couple of decades of appeals, at the end of which a lot of non-roomba vacuum makers will have long been out of business, and the few-million-slap-on-the-wrist fine will be a moot point.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Monopolist will monopolise

      So, basically like trying to get info on ereaders that aren't Kindle?

      Or, surprise, there seems to be no market whatsoever in pre-loved Kindles except that which are reconditioned by the tat bazaar themselves (and sold at a price that makes one wonder if they shouldn't just get a new one, which is probably the point).

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Monopolist will monopolise

        > So, basically like trying to get info on ereaders that aren't Kindle?

        If it will be that easy, no need for all this fuss!

        Just tried looking for a "boox ereader" and it was actually Kobo devices that were pushed first - the Kindle was eighth on the list, after a couple of recent Boox models.

        Just trying "ereader" and, yes, Kindle is the first item (sponsored) then a Fire (sponsored) but the first non-sponsored results are two Kobos and a Meebook. Then all the "highly-rated" sponsored results (all Kobo, plus - gasp - an actual book!). Three more Kindles, five more Kobos, Dongzhu (sponsored), PocketBook, Kindle and finally a Boox; at least didn't have to click through to the second page.

        Hmm, looks like Amazon may get into trouble if they try to buy out Kobo, but it wasn't hard to find non-Kindle devices.

        Assuming, of course, we believe that the average shopper doesn't just go for the first item listed every time, in which case it will always be the "sponsored" item that wins.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Monopolist will monopolise

          First I would just like to point out that every single Amazon search results page is uniquely crafted. Your results may or may not be typical.

          Secondly with regards to this "Assuming, of course, we believe that the average shopper doesn't just go for the first item listed every time, in which case it will always be the "sponsored" item that wins."... Amazon has probably trillions of sessions' history worth of data to verify this and many other patterns. You can be sure that whoever visits their site will be served with a page that will maximise Amazon's profits. Note as well the possibility that they may make a larger cut off selling a Kobo than profit off selling a Kindle since the Kindles are highly subsidised and geared to encouraging people to buy lots of eBooks.

  3. abend0c4 Silver badge

    Colin Angle

    I think we now have the name for the precise geometry at which your supposedly intelligent floor-duster gets inextricably trapped and bounces around until the battery goes flat.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Colin Angle

      I always found it amusing that the early "intelligent" vacuum robots used the same bump-and-go mechanism as 1960s battery toys for navigating obstacles

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXwX1iRTRJo

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Amazon may use such a dual role"

    Yeah. May.

    Frankly, this eternal tiptoeing around sensitive issues is starting to grate on my nerves. Stop cushing the blow already. Take the guns out and just say what you mean : Amazon, if you don't play fair, we'll gut you and leave your entrails to the vultures.

    All this namby-pamby niceness just makes the suits in multinational behemoths believe that they are untouchable.

    Well, except if they live in China. Those guys know just how touchable they are.

    Sometimes I don't find that such a bad idea.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: "Amazon may use such a dual role"

      > this eternal tiptoeing

      Else you might irritate them...

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    Amazon should be broken up

    It should not be allowed to buy companies and use market manipulation to eliminate competition. This will be bad for us in the long term.

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Amazon should be broken up

      Something needs broken up?

      I have a pickaxe that I'm very fond of (and has done sterling service in decommissioning hated printers and the odd harddisc or two).

      I have nothing planned for the weekend. Where do I go?

      1. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

        Re: Amazon should be broken up

        "decommissioning hated printers and the odd harddisc or two"

        Pro tip - do not do this where your neighbours can see you doing it. Mine got quite concerned when they looked over the fence and saw me addressing several HDDs with an axe.

        As for robovacs, are they actually any good? I gather that roombas no longer reliably spread pet poop around your carpets, but what their competitors? Are the competitors better than roombas in any noticeable way?

        My trusty Henry is good enough for me, so I have no idea if the robosuckers work, but if I were ever to consider buying one it would probably be the best known brand.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Amazon should be broken up

          I have a Lefant cleaner which runs every day while I'm working. It is amazing just how much dust it gathers each time, so in my opinion it does a better job than I would because I just don't have the time, or inclination, to vacuum every day. Lefant customer service is excellent too. I accidentally threw out the holder for the HEPA filter, and they sent me an entire new dust box, free of charge, even though my machine is long out of warranty.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Amazon should be broken up

          "My trusty Henry is good enough for me, so I have no idea if the robosuckers work, but if I were ever to consider buying one it would probably be the best known brand."

          My wife bought one recently. My heart sank when she told me. How much money did she just waste? She normally checks with me on any "tech" purchases first. Amazingly, it was pretty damned cheap, actually does the job in some sort of semi random fashion, doesn't have a network connection, doesn't use an "app" and is some Chinese brand I've never heard off, Onson F007 Robot Vacuum Cleaner. Cheap enough to try out and, for the price, I was relatively impressed. More importantly she likes it and after a few false starts, the rooms are now generally kept tidier so there's nothing for it to get stuck in. She normally lets it loose when I'm out at work and she can put her feet up :-)

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Amazon should be broken up

            I have one, it was a fraction of the Roomba price and does a really good job as long as I get all the charger cables out of the way first.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Amazon should be broken up

      "It should not be allowed to buy companies and use market manipulation to eliminate competition. This will be bad for us in the long term."

      There's a Black Mirror episode about that :-)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iRobot?

    Hasn't Apple sued them yet?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Large orders from an etailer customer would ship in Q2

    Amazon?

  8. ThatOne Silver badge
    Devil

    No, really?

    > Regulators concerned iRobot could receive preferential treatment on the company's ecommerce platform

    Regulators concerned pope could be catholic.

    But then again we shouldn't be judgmental, especially concerning the rich and powerful, they suffer enough already...

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