The UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) confirmed to Mobile World Live that it is at the start of an investigation into Google’s recent acquisition of Israel-based navigation app company Waze.
An OFT spokesman said the organisation is issuing a call for evidence but was unable to shed any light onto the exact areas that the OFT is looking into regarding the deal, which is reportedly worth $1 billion.
A Google spokeswoman told Mobile World Live via email that the company had received questions from the OFT.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was reported to have contacted Google about the Waze deal soon after it was announced in June. It was deemed unlikely, however, that the watchdog would call for the deal to be terminated as evidence would be needed to show it had significantly hurt competition in the mobile and navigation app market.
The FTC may have been concerned that Google’s primary motivation for the deal was to keep Waze out of the hands of its rivals. Prior to the Google deal, Waze had been linked to suitors including Facebook and Apple.
US advocacy group Consumer Watchdog also voiced its opposition of the Google-Waze deal in a letter written to the US Department of Justice. John Simpson, privacy project director at the Consumer Watchdog, said approval of the Waze deal “can only allow Google to remove any meaningful competition from the market”.