Google’s Fitbit deal may win EU approval despite concerns from rivals, report says

Google introduced its buy of Fitbit in November.

Lexy Savvides/PJDM

Google’s $2.1 billion buy of Fitbit is getting some pushback within the European Union. Rival makers of wearables are reportedly involved that the search large’s guarantees on utilizing Fitbit’s knowledge for promoting do not go far sufficient. 

In accordance with the Financial Times, a number of “main {hardware} makers and main cloud companies suppliers” have raised points with the EU about a few of the pledges Google is making to get the deal accepted. Some, similar to a promise to not use Fitbit’s well being knowledge for focused promoting for 10 years, “don’t go far sufficient,” individuals “near the discussions” advised the outlet.

Issues over Google getting too highly effective within the wearables market and making an attempt to “self-regulate” had been additionally points raised by these firms after the EU despatched a questionnaire asking “a spread of well being tech firms whether or not Google’s new options had been enough to assuage their issues over antitrust and privateness.” 

The Monetary Instances studies that “Garmin, Samsung and client group BEUC are amongst these to have been consulted,” although it additionally notes that the EU regulators are “discovering it arduous to justify blocking the deal” regardless of the issues being raised.

“This deal is about units, not knowledge,” a Google spokeswoman advised PJDM in an announcement. “The wearables house is very crowded, and we consider the mix of Google and Fitbit’s {hardware} efforts will improve competitors within the sector, benefiting shoppers and making the following era of units higher and extra reasonably priced.” 

“We have now been working with the European Fee on an up to date method to safeguard shoppers’ expectations that Fitbit machine knowledge will not be used for promoting,” the corporate spokeswoman mentioned. “We’re additionally formalizing our longstanding dedication to supporting different wearable producers on Android and to proceed to permit Fitbit customers to connect with third-party companies by way of APIs in the event that they wish to.”  

Introduced in November, the Fitbit deal would give Google a much-needed enhance in wearables, the place the corporate’s Wear OS platform has fallen behind rivals from Apple, Samsung and Garmin. 

Regardless of the objections, the EU is near giving its blessing, Reuters reported last week. In accordance with the information company, Google supplied to “limit the usage of Fitbit knowledge for Google advertisements and would additionally tighten the monitoring of that course of” to assist get the deal accepted.

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Eli Blumenthal