Adobe’s attempt to acquire Figma, a cloud-based design platform, for a substantial $20 billion has raised concerns among EU antitrust regulators.
These concerns center around the potential consequences of reduced competition within the global markets for interactive product design tools, as well as the possibility of shutting out competitors.
The European Commission’s decision to launch a comprehensive investigation into the matter follows a preliminary assessment that had already raised red flags. This move validates an earlier report by Reuters.
The landscape of technological acquisitions has recently come under intense scrutiny from antitrust regulatory bodies. Apprehensions have arisen due to suspicions that larger corporations might be acquiring emerging rivals primarily to stifle their growth and innovation.
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Figma, which offers a collaborative web-based platform for design and ideation, has garnered a substantial user base among prominent tech enterprises, including Zoom Video Communications, Airbnb, and Coinbase.
However, should the acquisition proceed, a significant competitor would be eliminated from the equation.
Consequently, this could grant Adobe, the creator of Photoshop, an opportunity to wield considerable control over the supply of interactive product design tools across the global markets.
This potential concentration of power within the hands of Adobe has raised eyebrows within the EU’s antitrust oversight body.
Moreover, the acquisition could exert a detrimental influence on Figma’s potential to evolve into a formidable rival to Adobe’s own asset creation tools.
The EU antitrust regulator fears that by integrating Figma into Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, the competition in the sphere of interactive product design tools might be curtailed. This, in turn, could limit options for consumers seeking diverse digital creative tools.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, asserted the seriousness of the situation, emphasizing the necessity to safeguard users’ access to a wide array of digital creative tools.
In her official statement, she declared, “With our thorough investigation, our objective is to guarantee that users retain the freedom to choose from a rich selection of digital creative resources.”
In response to these concerns, Adobe defended its position, citing overwhelmingly positive feedback from its global customer base regarding the proposed deal.
The company expressed confidence in the validity of the acquisition, asserting that Figma’s product design realm aligns tangentially with Adobe’s core creative offerings.
Furthermore, Adobe clarified that it does not possess any significant intentions to compete directly within the product design sector. This statement was part of Adobe’s larger response to the situation.
The company further stated, “We eagerly anticipate the forthcoming stages of this process, during which we will substantiate these facts and ultimately bring this transaction to fruition.”
The European competition watchdog, responsible for overseeing fair market practices, announced its intention to deliver a verdict on the matter by December 14. This decision will determine whether the acquisition will be permitted to proceed unhindered or if it will be blocked due to antitrust concerns.