Google's billion dollar deal for Waze was a win, with Apple and Facebook left behind, but the excitement at Google's Santa Clara headquarters will be put on hold while the Federal Trade Commission takes a good, long look at the deal. The New York Post reported the FTC would be scrutinizing the Waze deal, despite the fact that the deal closed on June 11, and Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal confirmed the news with Google.
The California tech giant won't be able to integrate any of the crowd-sourcing technology that made Waze the toast of the map app world until regulators have determined everything is on the up-and-up. Waze quickly became the toast of the tech world before Google scooped it up, garnering attention from Apple and Facebook, too. And it's because of this wide-spread interest among tech titans that the FTC will be looking at closely, as the Journal explains:
The FTC would have to determine whether Waze would have become a head-to-head competitor with Google, whose Google Maps software is the dominant digital mapping and navigation service around the world, or whether there is any evidence, such as emails, that showed Google wanted to acquire the company only to keep it from rivals.
Before the purchase, Waze was seen as the first competitor who stood a chance of potentially taking down Google Maps as the go-to map app. When Google did finally pay slightly north of $1 billion for the app, some questioned why the FTC wasn't getting involved. Google was buying a direct competitor, after all. Quartz's Christopher Mims figured it was just the Silicon Valley way that was allowing them to get away with it: "Absolutely blows my mind that the FTC thinks it's OK for Google to acquire Waze. But whatever, competition, feh." The Post and the Journal say Google didn't need to submit the deal for FTC review because Waze made less than $70 million in American revenue. But the commission exercised their right to look at the deal regardless, so Google users will have to wait for that sweet, sweet crowd-sourced traffic info. Sorry, people who live in LA. You'll have to guess whether you should turn onto La Brea or Fairfax.