Hot off the presses, the FTC and DOJ have reached an agreement to divvy up antitrust oversight of Google and Amazon, putting Amazon under FTC’s watch and Google under DOJ’s but this is not the biggest news of the week. Despite overwhelmingly voting down not selling it’s facial recognition software to pretty much anyone, the big Amazon news this week is the purchase of ad-tech Sizmek (see below) and the interest in Boost Mobile - a subsidiary/sub-brand from T-Mobile. In a bid to make the $26.5 billion mega-merger of Sprint and T-Mobile look benign to regulators, T-Mobile is offering up Boost and Amazon is interested according to FTC execs. While many scoffed and saw this as folly (and expensive folly), others are saying this could make sense for a more extensive drone play or another service to sell (Amazon already sells phones and, via third-party sellers, prepaid SIM cards) if Amazon acquired rights to some of the wireless spectrum now licensed by the FCC to Sprint or T-Mobile. The move, if successful, could be a warning to Google’s dominance with the Pixel brand (although Analysts seem to think this ship has sailed). Long-term, this could be a move to own more of what Amazon needs to reach consumers. A not entirely terrible move but a costly one (ask Facebook, Microsoft and Google who all own or run infrastructure programs). Amazon isn’t likely to be the only company interested, so this is just getting started.
- Amazon owning Boost - and the connections it offers - will be a huge concern for the FTC.
- If the move goes ahead, other players may be more open to working with brands - think about who chats could be had with now.
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