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Google's $1.1 bn purchase of Waze to be probed by FTC

Investigation will determine whether Google simply purchased start-up to prevent rivals from acquiring it.

Google has confirmed its purchase of social navigation firm Waze is to be investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The web giant has declined to comment further on the investigation, but reports suggest the FTC may have asked Google not to integrate with Waze, pending its review.

The FTC will investigate whether Google's purchase of Waze is anti-competitive and was done only to keep its rivals from getting hold of it the technology. Google Maps already dominates the mapping landscape and the FTC will also look into whether Waze had the potential to become a rival.

Other digital mapping companies include Nokia Maps, TomTom (which also helps to power Apple's Maps app) and the non-profit OpenStreetMap.

Google shelled out $1.1 billion in June to purchase the Israeli start-up, after a bidding war with Facebook. Apple was also rumoured to be interested in purchasing the firm, but it is not known if it made a bid.

After the deal closed, Google confirmed the Waze product development team would remain in Israel and operate separately "for now".

The plan is to incorporate the traffic update features from Waze into Google Maps, and add Google's search capabilities into Waze's standalone platform.

Waze claims it has a user base of nearly 50 million globally and when acquired, the firm claimed it had evaluated many options and felt Google would be the best partner.

This isn't the first time a Google acquisition has been subject to regulatory approval. The firm splashed out over $12 billion for Motorola Mobility in a deal that closed in 2012.

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