Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit deal faces EU antitrust investigation

Google Fitbit Wearables

Google’s $2.1 billion bid for fitness tracker manufacturer Fitbit will face a comprehensive EU antitrust investigation next week, people knowledgeable about the matter has said.

KEY POINTS:

  • Sources suggest Google’s potential acquisition of wearables leader FitBit will face a probe by the EU
  • The move comes despite Google stating it will not use FitBit’s health data for ad targeting

Alphabet Inc unit Google this month offered to not utilise Fitbit’s health data to allow it to target ads in an effort to address European Union antitrust concerns. The launching of a investigation indicates that this isn’t sufficient.

The deal, announced last November, could see Google compete with market leader Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics in the fitness-tracking and smart-watch marketplace, alongside others such as Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi.

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The European Commission, which will launch the probe following the end of its preliminary review on the 4th of August, is expected to make use of this four-month long investigation to research in depth the use of data in healthcare, one of the people said.

The Commission declined to comment. Google reiterated previous comments, saying the deal is all about not data and apparatus.

CROWDED MARKET

“The wearables space is crowded, and we believe the combination of Google and Fitbit’s hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector, benefiting consumers and making the next generation of devices better and more affordable,” a spokeswoman said.

Google’s data Guarantee has drawn criticism from wearables rivals health care providers and privacy advocates for not addressing their concerns that the deal would increase its dominance in the online search market and its trove of data.

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News bureau MLex was the first to report the imminent EU investigation.

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