EC To Review Google's Deal To Buy A Fitness Bracelet Manufacturer Fitbit Inc.
The European Commission has launched an in-depth review of the deal to buy us-based Google, part of Alphabet Inc., the manufacturer of fitness bracelets Fitbit Inc.
Google announced a $2.1 billion deal in November 2019. The company plans to increase its share in the wearable device market, as well as in the medical data segment, by purchasing Fitbit.
Google's plans, however, provoked a negative reaction from organizations that protect private information and consumer rights. They expressed concerns that Google will include health data about people using fitness bracelets in personal profiles created by the company based on information from its other services, including search and email.
Google, in turn, promised that it would not use data from Fitbit wristbands for advertising purposes.
The European Commission, however, considered that these assurances were not enough to protect competition in the sector, and began an in-depth review of the planned transaction. The main concern of the regulator is whether access to medical data will strengthen Google's position in the online advertising market, regardless of the company's promises not to use this information.
The European Commission will assess what consequences the deal may have for the digital medical data market and fitness bracelet manufacturers competing with Fitbit that use Google's Android operating system, the regulator said in a statement.
Google notes the presence of pronounced competition in the market of "smart" watches and fitness bracelets and does not believe that the purchase of Fitbit will lead to negative consequences in this area.
The European Commission said on Tuesday that it would rule on the case on December 9.
Google is also waiting for a verdict from the Australian antitrust regulator on the deal with Fitbit. In June, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it believed the deal could worsen competition in both digital health services and the wearable device market, as well as further strengthen Google's position in the online advertising market.