back to article Amazon calls off $1.7 billion iRobot buy, blames regulators

Amazon's $1.7 billion bid to buy iRobot is off, and while Jeff Bezos's business faces a termination fee, almost a third of the vacuum cleaner maker's staff face termination of an altogether different nature. Amazon SVP and general counsel David Zapolsky wasted no time pointing the finger at regulators, whom he said were …

  1. usbac Silver badge

    "Europe cannot and should not create an environment where companies are not allowed to invest in, or acquire, companies in related sectors."

    He added: "Neither competition law, nor the Digital Markets Act, should be used to artificially limit or restrict healthy markets or legitimate acquisitions."

    This is exactly what proper regulators should do. I just wish we had such regulators here in the US!

    1. KarMann Silver badge

      I also like the unstated assumption implied, that these are definitely healthy markets and a legitimate acquisition. Circular logic/begging the question much?

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        I'm not sure it's an assumption. I think it's a stated opinion; he is stating that it's a fair acquisition and that regulators shouldn't have prevented it. Definitely an opinion, but not really a hidden one.

        It's true that the statement doesn't give any reasons why it is a legitimate acquisition, but neither does your statement or those of others here state why you don't think it is one. The only explanation for why it's not is from the EU's statement. I somehow agree with them and still think they've gotten it wrong.

        The problem the EU points out, that Amazon can restrict the online retail market in favor of its own products, is a real problem and one I think needs resolving. However, I don't see why it has much relevance to this particular product. Amazon can and, according to people who make products that Amazon's making as well, already do abuse their market position. That is a problem that will not be defeated by preventing them from buying a company that makes a different type of thing, so some effort should be spent punishing Amazon's manipulation and preventing them from doing it again. However, since Amazon doesn't make robot vacuums, buying a company that does won't, apart from that online retail argument, reduce the number of competitors in the market. On this basis, Amazon should be prohibited from buying any company that sells any product which could be purchased online. Compared to going after the abuse of their online market power, this seems like a bad plan for resolving it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You are absolutely correct.

      Companies have to stop operating by breaking the laws.

      Start ups that have business model that cannot be profitable without breaking regulations ought to be shut down asap.

  2. abend0c4 Silver badge

    A completely different sector

    I thought the suspicion was that Amazon's interest was to make the business part of its existing surveillance sector and use the device primarily to hoover up the sensor data.

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge

      "What the Roomba Saw"

      The deal collapsed when regulators frowned on Amazon's new grumble-flick foray

  3. Lennart Sorensen

    My first thought is "What does iRobot do that needs 1000 employees?" Does that include manufacturing or is that outsourced? It certainly shouldn't take too many engineers to develop the few robot vacuum models they have.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Entrepreneurs? And there was me thinking Amazon was promoting the sale of cheap knockoff devices which put companies like iRobot out of business.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      In this case, and many others, the cheap knockoffs offer better value for money.

      But avoiding Amazon as much as I can is something I’m trying to like cutting down waste.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        "In this case, and many others, the cheap knockoffs offer better value for money."

        Yeah, my wife informed me last year that she'd ordered a robot vacuum cleaner. She normally doesn't do techy like orders without checking with me first so I was a bit surprised. Then she said it was only about 40 quid from China. My heart sunk. I was expecting some crappy bit of tat that wanted all sorts of personal data before allowing it to operate and then would fail do do a decent job.

        Imagine my surprise when it turned up, didn't have an app, didn't connect to the Internet, just has a simple remote control. And it actually works quite well. I can't compare with other, more expensive IoT devices, it seems pretty random in the way it maps out it's path, but it does, eventually, go everywhere it's supposed to and is easy to clean and empty. The time it takes isn't all that relevant anyway, since it's left alone in a room we aren't using, and it finds it's way back its charger when it's done. Not sure who she bought it through, Amazon, AliExpress, Temu, whateverrrrrr :-)

  5. tin 2


    they went bonkers splashing the cash while they thought payday was coming, and now it's not, immediately and desperately need efficiencies... Entrepreneurial...

  6. aerogems Silver badge

    How dare those pesky regulators do their jobs and prevent us from creating an even broader monopoly than we already have!?

    On a more serious note, I'm kind of glad. I wasn't looking forward to a future where, if I had one of those things, Amazon might send me adverts for furniture or carpet that just happens to fit the dimensions of different rooms.

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Amazon taking a leaf out of the Trump playbook

    Where the 'bully' tries to play the victim (by blaming the regulators). Any legal dept worth being in a job should have thought about that possibility before launching the takeover.

    There is no way a behemoth like Amazon can ever be the victim. They (along with the likes of MS and Apple) could buy almost every bit of the competition from their cash reserves.

  8. heyrick Silver badge

    Dear Daniel and Amazon

    Given that your administration is currently bullying everybody to tear out expensive infrastructure from a Chinese company "because spying"; and given that your administration also threatened 100% duties on completely unrelated imports as punishment for some bit of legislation they didn't like, I have only one thing to say...

    ...don't slam the door on your way out.

  9. IGotOut Silver badge

    Mouthpiece whines about EU...

    Daniel Friedlaender, SVP and head of the Computer & Communications Industry Association Europe, expressed disappointment with the outcome.......

    Let's see...tap, tap, tap.

    "Membership CCIA members include a range of internet services companies to software to telecom companies such as *AMAZON*.... , Apple Inc., BT Group, Cloudflare, Dish Network, eBay, Facebook, Google, Intel, Intuit, Mozilla, NordVPN, Rakuten, Red Hat, Samsung, Twitter, Uber and Yahoo! ."

    Yup totally independent and fighting for the little guy every step of the way.

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