United Kingdom probes Google's Looker purchase over competition concerns

Google's headquarters in Mountain View California

Google's headquarters in Mountain View California

The UK government announced today that it is investigating Google's planned acquisition of Looker.

Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Antitrust regulators in the European Union have also sought information about why and how Google collects data, as part of a preliminary investigation, Reuters reported.

Google Cloud, the company's cloud computing division, trails both Amazon and Microsoft in the realm of data infrastructure services, which have in recent years been a huge growth driver for some of the world's largest technology companies.

But the analysis of data in the public cloud and the collection of browser data are not the same. While Google's no angel, the notion that its acquisition of Looker would lessen competition would seem wrong-headed.

Last month, the company launched a new version of its product which allows the integration of tools such as Slack, the cloud-place messaging service. Salesforce's acquisition of Tableau, also announced in June and successfully closed in August, is in the game in a serious way as well.

"The addition of Looker to Google Cloud will help us offer customers a more complete analytics solution from ingesting data to visualising results and integrating data and insights into their daily workflows", he added. Rather than inhibiting competition, Google needs Looker in order to provide robust competition to AWS and Azure, and I'd argue those players need credible competitive pressure in order to maintain their own pace of innovation.

The Competition and Markets Authority said Monday that it has invited "any interested party" to comment on whether the transaction would "result in a substantial lessening of competition" in the United Kingdom market.

The authority has set a 20 December deadline for receiving comments from relevant parties. With less than three calendar weeks for comment, perhaps the investigation will conclude quickly. Efficacy aside, the research announcement shows how critical data analysis and BI are for the public cloud computing market in general.

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