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Watchdog urges feds to block Google's acquisition of Waze mapping app

June 12, 2013 at 5:08 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- If Google acquires mapping app Waze, it would eliminate Google's key competitor in mobile maps, Consumer Watchdog told U.S. antitrust agencies.

In letters sent to the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, the consumer advocacy group argued Wednesday the proposed acquisition should be blocked because it would remove Google's most "viable" competitor to Google Maps on mobile devices, PC World reported.

Google Vice President-Geoproducts Brian McClendon posted in a blog Google closed on its acquisition of Waze, based in Israel, Tuesday.

"Google already dominates the online mapping business with Google Maps," John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project Director John Simpson wrote. "The Internet giant was able to muscle its way to dominance by unfairly favoring its own service ahead of such competitors as Mapquest in its online search results."

The acquisition will also "allow Google access to even more data about online activity in a way that will increase its dominant position on the Internet," Simpson said.

A Google spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, PC World said.

Last May during the All Things Digital conference, Waze Chief Executive Officer Noam Bardin described Google as his company's main competitor.

"Approval of the Waze deal can only allow Google to remove any meaningful competition from the market," Simpson told the federal agencies. "It will hurt consumers and hinder technological innovation."

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