Australia’s antitrust regulator has refused an undertaking by Google that sought to address competition concerns over its projected $2.1 billion acquisition of gym tracker manufacturer Fitbit.
The development comes as Google remains at loggerheads with the Australian government over a variety of issues, such as proposed laws that will make Australia the first country in the world to force Google and Facebook to pay for news obtained from local media outlets.
In June, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) voiced concerns within the Fitbit bargain, warning Google’s acquisition would give it too much of people’s data, potentially hurting competition in health and online advertising markets.
Google had sought to address these issues by offering a court enforceable undertaking that it would act in certain ways toward rival wearable manufacturers, not use health information for advertising and, in certain circumstances, allow competing businesses access to wellness and physical fitness data.
“While we are aware that the European Commission recently accepted a similar undertaking from Google, we are not satisfied that a long-term behavioural undertaking of this type in such a complex and dynamic industry could be effectively monitored and enforced in Australia,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a statement.
The regulator also noted that several other competition authorities, including the US Department of Justice, were yet to make a decision on the offer.
The ACCC said it would continue its investigation and establish a new decision date of March 25, 2021.
The program also has questions open into marketing technology and cellular app shops, with reports due in January and March, respectively, focusing on the rapidly growing market power of internet giants
The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru. Editing by Chris Reese and Richard Pullin.
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