Google’s acquisition of Waze prompts FTC investigation

by: Kyle WiggersJune 22, 2013

google search logo Credit: theantonyryan/Flickr

Google just can’t seem to catch a break. According to a report by the New York Post, the search giant’s $1.1 billion acquisition of Israel-based mapping service Waze has prompted an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). A Google spokesperson confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that the FTC had contacted the company about the report.

It’s difficult to say for certain what the primary focus of probe will be, but the FTC is more than likely interested in Google’s intentions for purchasing Waze. Some speculate the buy was defensive, an attempt to prevent rivals from acquiring Waze’s technology to build or enhance their own mapping platforms. Microsoft’s an early investor in Waze, and Facebook and Apple reportedly considered purchasing the company as recently as last month.

This isn’t the first time Google’s had a run-in with the FTC. An investigation into the company’s potentially anticompetitive ranking of search results concluded in January 2013, and a probe focusing on Google’s ad platform began in May.

Given that Google’s been charged with more serious allegations and come away unscathed, it’s improbable the FTC’s latest investigation will result in any substantial punishment. Considering Waze’s application features unique functionality like social integration and traffic analysis, it’ll be easy for Google to argue the purchase was a strategic move to improve its own mapping solution, rather than an anticompetitive maneuver to prevent, say, Facebook from entering the mapping game.

What do you think of Google’s purchase of Waze? Do you think the FTC is justified in targeting the company for anticompetitive practices yet again? Let us know.

  • Amadeus Klein

    Blah, Blah, More FTC… Probably Crapple Putting them up to it… Joking, but seriously, apple is about the most anti-competitive company out there, losing to google may have ticked them off more…

    But as far as waze/Google combo is concerned, this is great, give me google maps with Waze social traffic on top and that’s a massive win!

    • I.GuS

      Windows phone,

    • mobilemann

      If anyone, it’s windows phone. Apple has by far the most diverse mapping apps of any platform. (sorry, but it’s true, with here, google, apple, garmin, tom tom to name a few).

      WP has “here” maps

      This is why this site tends to be a joke. Uninformed users like yourself, and trolls who can’t accept that other companies will compete with Android OEMs. super sad.

      Get over apple, they advance android phones more than you know. Competition is *good* for both of our pockets.

      • MasterMuffin

        Some could have agreed with your point, but you had to be an ass and go and insult EVERYone around here…

        • Trent Richards

          That’s all that guy does. He comes here to make rude and condescending remarks to stroke his own ego like the asshat that he is.

          • mobilemann

            yeah, IHATE is an idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I’m much worse because i’m factually correct, and you can’t use your bullshit on me;D

            Don’t worry, i don’t care what you think of me:D I just like facts and truth. Foreign to you, but not muffin. Also, incredibly hypocritical for you trent. Making it about me isn’t trollish at all. focus on the insults when you can’t get me on the facts, it’s the only successful strategy you have with me. So i will leave you with more ammo, you half wit:D Enjoy, and keep taking forums to heart, and getting offended. It’s healthy.

          • MasterMuffin

            Just wanting to add that my point still remains, you could work a little with the output :P

          • mobilemann

            you are correct, and i can assure you, that your open attitude does not go unnoticed; or un-appreciated. If this forum were full of people like you, i assure you i would be in kitten mode;D

            I just get annoyed by horde mentality. I’m equally mean to the blind of apple faithful on mac rumors, or the verge:D

          • MasterMuffin

            Good, this shows that you’re not a troll because you did admit that you aren’t a perfect überbeing :)

          • mobilemann

            no one is perfect, but take a look at what i have to deal with, with @Trent Richards up there. All because i’m not only google faithful. it’s crazy. I’ve posted actual quotes copy and pasted from the other thread, showed him where he actually attempted to spread FUD; and he’ll still call me a troll for it. Hence my attitude to your normal person here.

          • MasterMuffin

            I’ll actually stay neutral on that matter, that looks like a fight that I’d loose, too lazy to get sources and stuff D:

          • Trent Richards

            You have yet to show me any facts. A bunch of opinion stated with confidence does not constitute facts. I don’t post false information so call me all the names under the sun, that doesn’t put you any closer to being right.

          • mobilemann

            hey man, you’re the guy who said android “In my honest opinion, Android was superior to iOS when it was revealed in Oct of 2007” and went on to say “It may not have run as smoothly, but the UI was already more friendly and the feature list was longer.” (when it didn’t have an on screen keyboard, widgets, anything.)

            if that’s not loyalty and fanboy devotion, idk what is.

            but the kicker was “For instance, you could install apps on Android where iOS didn’t have that feature until 5 months later in March of 2008” < it's funny because the first commercial verison of android didn't come out until September 23rd of 2008, with the G1.

            Those are facts; you in fact posted, false information. Sorry, but again, you're full of shit.


            Please show me where i trash android, i never do, 4.2.2 is my OS of choice. It's so good, that we don't have to lie about iOS.

          • Trent Richards

            I am the guy who said “In my honest opinion” and you want to argue what my opinion is. Great…

            You are right the first commercial version didn’t come out until 2008. However, Android was revealed in 2007.
            “Android was unveiled in 2007 along with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance: a consortium of hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices.”

            At that time they announced that Android had the functionality of installing third party apps. I don’t have a link to the info given during the announcement, but with your superior research skills I am sure you can find it. Since Android can install from places other than the Play Store, surely you realize that the Play Store didn’t need to be live to demonstrate this back in 2007.

            I also never said that you trash Android, so I am not sure where that came from. I might be wrong about something here and there, as I am human after all, but I am certainly not full of shirt and never just make stuff up just to help my argument. I certainly don’t mind discussing other people’s opinions but what I hate as much as you hate the “horde mentality”, is when people come off extremely rude and condescending when they simply disagree with them. You will not get a good reaction out of me when you do that.

          • mobilemann

            you certainly are full of shirt. (that will cease to be funny even to me when you, no doubt edit your post, multiple times.

            I just also think you stretch to hard (to extreme levels i normally only see with fanboys) to make it look like google did whatever, like a week ahead of apple.

            Your comparing google showing a demo, to a shipping product, but you don’t sit there and consider, well, yeah, apple not needing all these OEMs, probably had it up and running a ton sooner, doing internal demo’s too. etc.

            I just only see you thinking for one side of it. Which is why i posted that.

            As for you not caring for the ways i get my points across, (i don’t care that you don’t like it) I really think you are quite thin skinned if that kinda stuff bothers you. I make no apologies. Call me a jerk, or rude, or a whatever adjective you find appropriate.

            Anyway, i’m home now, trolling hours are 9-5, est. Have a good night!

          • MasterMuffin

            IHATEHIPSTERSSS is a legend XD/Xd

      • Amadeus Klein

        A few quick notes,

        1) I am referring to Maps App not platform availablility… Since waze will only really impact apps not OS platform… Google maps is miles ahead of most apps out there (like it or not)

        2)The initial statement was meant as a joke, but the truth of the matter is that Apple has a history of complaining to the FTC, and they have the $$ and clout to do so, Microsoft while still influential no longer has the pull they used to.

        3) I’m less uninformed that you think, I used to be an apple sheep like so many others, but then I realized that an open operating system that I can customize to my choosing is far better for me than having to be forced into a single way of doing things. Now I have a realistic view of the mobile device world, Apple makes great mid-range/Low high end devices that run their OS well, but if you don’t fit perfectly in their mold they could care less.

        4) This is an Android forum, Do you come here just to troll? You seem to have a very pro apple stance since in your OP you attacked me, called me a troll etc… I looked back at your past posts and you basically attack anyone who has anything negative to say about apple, so honestly I don’t value your opinion because of that.

        • mobilemann

          Does putting your notes into numbers make them more legitimate? They are more like “statements on subjective matters, my 2c”

          Waze, as it’s one of only a few 3rd party mapping apps, completely impacts Windows Phone as a platform; as it was going to be one of the first free good alternatives. It’s also miles ahead of google maps in terms of live traffic cops. As for google maps being the best, it’s certainly the best for POI’s, and for Search (which is a monumental part of GPS) But plenty of competitors are better in their niches, of which there are plenty, (offline, etc)

          Apple does have a history of complaining to the FTC. So does the center or digital democracy (CDD), and the electronic privacy information center (EPIC). Their part in the overal patent wars though was just one of many. Nokia threw the first punch. lots of stupidity there on apples part however, i agree!

          the fact that you actually think people who use one device are sheep says a ton about you, though. It’s not a contest. And don’t worry, i don’t give a fuck about what anyone who uses the word “crapple” thinks about me; they aren’t worth it:D Don’t worry, we’ll both get over it.

  • Lisandro O Oocks

    I think it’s justifiable, but ultimately Google will likely end up winning because Waze isn’t that big to begin with. Waze isn’t really all that great, it’s moderately good at best. And Google can defend the purchase with other excuses. If the FTC thinks mergers and purchases are to create competition instead of the exact opposite then they need to go back to school. I think Waze value was only about half a billion, Google overpaid at least .8 billion to make sure FB wouldn’t get it, but that’s ok.

    • Lisandro O Oocks

      I wished FTC paid more attention when continental merged with united. Not this Google walk to the mall. like how was the continental-united merger gonna lower air fares and keep ppl employed, and not affect competition

      • APai

        well said. FTC seems to operate in areas where there are more eyeballs and the news make waves.

      • AndroidShiz

        Exactly. Where I’m at smaller airlines are buying up the even smaller airlines and then raising the prices as competition disappears. But as soon as Google wants to buy something, anything, a hair salon chain, they just gotta investigate. If this were Apple or Microsoft, they couldn’t care less.

        • mobilemann

          except for when the FTC looked at apple for in app purchases? or over ad sense on iOS? or over privacy?

          Also, only someone under the age of 25 wouldn’t remember the FTC coming down on Microsoft, who had the largest monopoly in the world at one point. Sigh.

    • mobilemann

      Very well said.

      However, i don’t agree with how good waze it. When comparing it to gmaps for accuracy, I completely agree, but waze was more for city people to know which way wasn’t stupid with traffic (and it was by far, the best GPS app for that) As well as police stops. etc.

      However, i agree on both your counts, that it’s justifiable (the investigation) but buying waze isn’t that huge of a deal, and this will ultimately blow over.

  • ElementalXTC

    Why does google need waze? It does seems like a suspicious purchase. Isn’t the almighty Google Maps great enough to and up on its own?

    • APai

      nope – no one has that unique community of users who volunteer information on real time traffic. it’s like hiring thousands of people. I don’t see why any of the tech giants having mapping as their solutions – wouldn’t want waze.

  • Luka Mlinar

    Sounds like bull to me. There is no way this can hold up in court. It’s just another attempt to throw mud at Google.

  • Simon Craddock

    Lets guess….Microsoft made a complaint!

  • masterdebater

    I am not really surprised this happened.