Google’s Fitbit deal set to win okay from EU regulators after fresh concessions

Google Fitbit Wearables

Google is set to win EU antitrust approval for its $2.1 billion purchase of fitness tracker maker Fitbit to carry on Apple and Samsung from the wearable technology market, people familiar with the issue said.

The dominant online search engine Tuesday offered new concessions to the European Commission in an attempt to deal with concerns the bargain could entrench Google’s power in online marketing and increase its trove of information.

Google said it had provided to limit the usage of Fitbit information for Google ads and would also tighten the observation of the process, confirming a news report. The offer is based on a July proposal.

“We’re also formalizing our longstanding commitment to supporting other wearable manufacturers on Android and to continue to allow Fitbit users to connect to third party services via API’s (application programming interfaces) if they want to,” Google said in a statement.

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Third parties will also continue to gain access to Fitbit users’ data, with users’ consent.

The concessions, reported earlier by journalists at our partner news agency Reuters, are put to clear the way for the agreement to be approved, the people said.

Its decision could come sooner than the deadline.

The European Union contest enforcer will now find opinions from rivals and customers before deciding whether to take Google’s concessions, require more, or clear or block the detail.

Last month, it rejected Google’s pledge not to utilise the fitness tracker’s information for advertising purposes in a bid to tackle competition concerns, saying that it was inadequate.

The deal has drawn criticism from health care providers, wearables rivals and privacy advocates.

Fitbit, when the leader in the wearable devices marketplace, had a 3 percent share of the worldwide wearables marketplace as of the first quarter of 2020, lagging behind Apple’s 29.3% share, in addition to Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, information from market research vendor IDC showed.

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The Commission recently requested Google’s competitors and clients about interoperability issues, what technical steps Google could take to foreclose competition to Fitbit to maximize its sales, and what could prompt it to do so, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It also asked about problems associated with electronic healthcare and the kind of data Google wants, and in which the US company could acquire it, the person said, indicating concessions could be needed in both of these areas.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford. Editing by Nick Zieminski.

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