European Commission clears Google acquisition of Photomath

NEWS 29.03.202313:02

The European Commission has unconditionally approved Google's acquisition of Croatia's Photomath under the EU Merger Regulation, concluding the transaction would raise no competition concerns in the European Economic Area (‘EEA’).

Based on its market investigation, the Commission found that the transaction would not significantly reduce competition in the markets for: (i) online homework and study help tools that include maths as a subject offering and (ii) general search services.

The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns in the EEA and cleared the case unconditionally.

The Commission found that the parties’ combined market shares are limited and there are many alternative players.

The Commission found that the integration of Photomath into Google’s general search service would not strengthen Google’s position in this market. Maths search queries represent only a very small share of all general search queries and Photomath’s technical capabilities are not unique or scarce.

The Commission found that access to Google’s search engine is not of significant importance to gain new users for maths tools. “Competitors also acquire new users through other channels, such as recommendations by friends and teachers, social media and advertising campaigns.”

The Commission similarly found that competing maths tools do not depend on access to Google’s in-app-store search to gain new users, and that competitors also acquire new users through other channels.

Photomath, a Croatian company headquartered in the US, provides free and premium versions of an online homework and study help maths app that utilises a smartphone’s camera to scan and solve ‘symbolic maths’ problems. These include pre-algebra through to calculus problems that use mathematical notation to represent a mathematical idea or relationship between two ideas, such as roots, quotients, indices or powers. Photomath provides users with step-by-step explanations to solve maths problems.

Photomath was started by an engineer and father looking to help his children with their math homework. The app has been downloaded more than 300 million times worldwide and is available in more than 30 languages.

Investors in the Croatian company include Menlo Ventures, LearnCapital, Goodwater Capital, GSV Ventures and Cherubic.