Google can ward off EU antitrust probe into Fitbit deal with data pledge – Security – Finance

Jeffrey Cuebas

Google might be able to stave off a total-scale EU antitrust investigation into its planned US$two.one billion bid for exercise tracker maker Fitbit by pledging not to use Fitbit’s well being info for its adverts, persons familiar with the issue mentioned.

The offer declared in November final yr makes it possible for Google, a device of Alphabet, to choose on Apple and Samsung in the exercise trackers and sensible watches market place, the place other players involve Huawei and Xiaomi.

The chief in the global wearables market place was Apple with a 29.3 percent market place share in the first quarter of 2020, followed by Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, in accordance to info from market place study firm IDC.

Fitbit’s share was 3 percent.

Nonetheless, the offer has drawn large criticism from privacy advocates on both of those sides of the Atlantic, worried that Google might use Fitbit’s trove of well being info to improve its dominance in on the internet marketing and lookup.

Earlier this thirty day period, EU regulators requested rival makers of wearable devices, app builders and other on the internet assistance providers as effectively as health care providers for their sights.

Google could allay competitors worries by supplying a binding pledge to EU competitors enforcers along the traces of its assure final yr not to use Fitbit’s well being and wellness info for Google adverts, the persons mentioned.

The European Fee, which is scheduled to make a decision on the offer by July 20, declined to comment. The deadline for Google to offer concessions is July 13.

Google mentioned the offer is about devices and not info.

“The wearables place is very crowded, and we believe the mixture of Google’s and Fitbit’s components efforts will maximize competitors in the sector, benefiting individuals and creating the upcoming era of devices far better and far more very affordable,” a spokesperson mentioned.

“All through this course of action we have been obvious about our motivation not to use Fitbit well being and wellness info for Google adverts and our responsibility to provide persons with selection and management with their info,” she mentioned.

The US Justice Office is also reviewing the offer while the Australian regulator mentioned it could damage competitors.

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