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Google to keep Waze as separate service

Google has officially stated to a UK regulator that, at least for now, it has no plans to integrate Waze technology in Google Maps.

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/By Alon Seligman / 

Ever since Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) acquired Waze Inc. for nearly $1 billion, drivers in Israel and other countries have been afraid of the moment when Google would terminate Waze’s navigation service and integrate the technology in Google Maps. Although Google has not disclosed its official plan for installing Waze’s service in Google Map, everyone understood that Google had a reason for paying $1 billion, and that the integration would happen sooner or later.

It seems that Waze consumers can relax, because Google has officially stated that, at least for now, it has no plans to carry out the integration. But the reason is not because Google does not want to do so, but because it is under review by Britain’s Office of Fair Trading, which is examining whether the acquisition of Waze would turn Google into a monopoly in the online maps market.

The US Federal Trade Commission is also looking into the matter.

In response to the Office of Fair Trading review, Google issued a statement, Initial Undertakings Completed Acquisition by Google of Waze, which was published on the regulator’s website, promising that it will keep Waze’s service as an independent service and independent company, at least until the end of the review. Google also undertook that no substantive changes would be made to key staff at Waze and that the two companies would operate separately and also said that no action would be taken to impair the ability of Google and Waze business to compete independently in any markets affected by the acquisition.

Google also undertook, during the specified period, not to use Waze technology in Google services, although it has already integrated Waze’s traffic reports in Google Maps. However, this was before the statement to the Office of Fair Trading, which means that it was not included in the undertakings. The Office of Fair Trading’s authority is unclear, or what measures it can take against Google, but the company is taking no chances, and is cooperating with the regulator until the end of its review.

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