Tom Watson, an MP and deputy leader of the Labour Party, has said he’s asking the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate Amazon’s $575 million investment in Deliveroo during its most recent funding round, according to a report by TechCrunch.
Amazon will be receiving a sizeable share in the company, and Watson is hoping that an investigation will lead to stronger conditions or maybe even a blocking of the deal.
“It’s called surveillance capitalism,” the MP said about Amazon and how it uses data from customers to build and sell products. “It’s a digital dystopia, and I shall be writing to the Competition and Markets Authority demanding they launch an investigation into this ‘investment.’”
Watson shared his thought on Twitter on Friday (May 17). He takes umbrage with what he views as Amazon’s business model: investing not with the purpose of expanding business, but to leverage data on customers.
“Deliveroo’s CEO Will Shu welcomes a land grab by Amazon because ‘it is such a customer-obsessed organisation,’” he said, about an interview Shu gave to the BBC. “He’s right, Amazon is obsessed. Obsessed with tracking tools, micro-targeted ads, extracting billions through monetising our personal data.
Watson views Amazon as a predatory entity that is only after data.
“They don’t want to get their mighty claws on a food delivery system. They want Deliveroo’s tech and data. They don’t just want to know how you eat, what you eat, when you eat. They want to know how best to extract your cash throughout your waking and sleeping hours.”
The CMA, and European regulators in general, have stopped some large deals while allowing others. European regulators allowed for Facebook’s takeover of WhatsApp and Instagram, while blocking Walmart’s Asda merger with Sainsbury’s.
However, the Amazon deal is an investment, and not an acquisition. Watson argues that Amazon starts with an investment before acquiring a company, like it did with LoveFilm, which it used to build Amazon Prime Video.