Facebook's $19 billion WhatsApp takeover bid approved by EU

Many privacy related concerns as a result of the transaction do not fall into the scope of EU competition law

Facebook's US$19 billion bid for WhatsApp won the approval of European Union competition regulator on Friday.

"We have carefully reviewed this proposed acquisition and come to the conclusion that it would not hamper competition," European Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy, Joaquín Almunia, said.

But while the Commission did look into the potential problems of the merger putting ever more data about users in one place, it only considered how that could hamper competition in the online advertising market. "Any privacy-related concerns flowing from the increased concentration of data within the control of Facebook as a result of the transaction do not fall within the scope of EU competition law," it said.

Almunia said he wasn't concerned about Facebook merging Whatsapp's user base with its own: "While Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are two of the most popular apps, most people use more than one communications app," he said, adding that consumers will continue to have a wide choice of communications apps. In addition, the Commission said, there was a broad overlap between the two user bases.

The Commission also found that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are not close competitors, even though they both allow consumers to communicate by sending text, photo, voice and video messages.

Users seem to use the two apps in different ways while many of them use the two apps simultaneously on the same mobile handset, the Commission said. Furthermore, it is a dynamic market with several competing apps available, such as Line, Viber, iMessage, Telegram, WeChat and Google Hangouts, it added.

Facebook expects to close the deal by the end of this year, it said in a July filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags FacebooklegalantitrustWhatsApp

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?