An Amazon subsidiary that specializes in delivering packages to customers in remote areas is now facing a $4.5 billion deal from Microsoft that could have huge implications for the online retailer.
The announcement comes after a report from The Verge this week that the two companies agreed to a $1 billion agreement to buy the data-tracking software, called Echo.
The deal will allow Amazon to give its users an app that can tell them if it has been hit by an outage, when they are on a train or when they’re at a bus stop.
But the Echo partnership is not without its critics, who worry that the app will enable the company to track people who are not Amazon customers, including those who have never signed up for an Amazon account and who have not had an Amazon app installed.
Amazon has been making strides in its battle against tracking by companies such as Apple and Google.
Last year, it introduced a free app for its Kindle devices that allowed people to see what they were reading.
Last week, the company announced that it had signed a $3.6 billion deal to buy rival Kindles in an all-stock deal.
But both the $1.2 billion and $3 billion deals represent major moves in Amazon’s direction.
For instance, both deals represent the largest buyout of a technology company by a single company in a decade.
The company also made a series of acquisitions, including the purchase of rival online bookstore Amazon.com for $1,700 billion last year.
But while Amazon’s sales have been rising, the firm has struggled to keep pace with competitors like Google, Amazon and Apple.
That has led to the company facing a slew of problems in the past year, including data breaches and accusations of antitrust violations.
The Verge first reported on the $4 Billion deal in December.
It followed reports that Amazon’s cloud-based grocery delivery service was also being acquired.
Microsoft, which has been one of Amazon’s biggest supporters in recent years, also has a big stake in Echo, with the Microsoft-owned Bing search engine reportedly taking the lead in building an Echo competitor.
Amazon bought Bing for $400 million in 2015, and has been building a rival, Alexa, that it says will help it compete against Google.
Amazon’s Echo has been a popular Amazon Echo accessory, especially in the states, where it has become an increasingly popular piece of tech.
But it has also become a target for hackers who have used it to track down Amazon customers.
In December, Microsoft announced it was revamping its Echo app and would add a new feature that allows users to control their Echo using voice commands instead of a keyboard.
Amazon says it has more than 2 million Echo users and has spent $100 million on advertising for the device.
That includes an Amazon TV ad that shows a woman talking to a computer with the Echo connected.