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Did Google's Waze gobble run rivals off the road? UK watchdog starts probe

The only Waze is ethics

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Google's acquisition of free map app Waze has awoken Britain's competition watchdog, which today confirmed it was scrutinising the gobble.

Israeli firm Waze Mobile was bought by Google in June this year for a rumoured $1bn. It gave the advertising goliath satnav-like software that, we're told, taps into the whereabouts of 50 million users to provide real-time traffic updates and accurate directions even when you drive off the beaten path.

But the UK's antitrust regulator is yet to be convinced about the fairness of the buyout. It said:

The Office of Fair Trading is considering whether this agreement has resulted in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.

It added that the affected sector was mapping applications and called for written statements about any competition or public interest issues with Google now owning Waze.

Anyone interested in wading in with a submission to the OFT has until 9 September to do so.

In June, the US Federal Trade Commission confirmed it was examining Google's decision to scoop up its rival Waze in a move that arguably all but wiped out competition in the map app biz stateside.

Google did not immediately responded to The Register's request for comment at time of writing. ®

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