FTC To Google: Hang On A Minute While We Investigate This Waze Deal

Google might want to start trying to pour the bubbly it poured over its $1.1 billion acquisition of social mapping company Waze back into the bottle, at least until the Federal Trade Commission is done with its antitrust review of the deal. The company confirmed that it’s been contacted by antitrust lawyers from the FTC, which isn’t a surprise. You take one huge company and have it buy up another smaller one, and the FTC will be there.
A Google spokeswoman didn’t comment to the Wall Street Journal on the details of the FTC’s review, and the agency is staying mum as well.

Waze isn’t a big enough company, revenue-wise, to have triggered an automatic antitrust review before the deal went through. But the FTC can basically check out such unions even after they’re all said and (mostly) done.

Despite this investigation, experts tell the WSJ it’s unlikely that the FTC will tell or ask Google to undo the deal. In order for that to happen, the FTC would have to find proof that the deal would hurt navigation and mapping app competition in a major way.

It could just be that the FTC asked Google not to smush Waze into its operations, something Google said wouldn’t happen anyway. It’d previously said it would keep the two companies separate, while incorporating some of Waze’s real-time traffic info into Google Maps and sharing some of its mapping technology with Waze.

The FTC will probably dig around to see if Waze could’ve been a contender — that is, if it ever would’ve gone head-to-head with Google to compete in the world of online maps. It also remains to be seen if the FTC can find evidence that show Google wanted to buy Waze just to keep it from everyone else.

FTC Reviews Google’s Purchase of Navigation App Waze [Wall Street Journal]