Google may prevent an EU antitrust investigation into its planned $ 2.1 billion offer for Fitbit, promising not to use Fitbit’s health data to target ads, people familiar with the problem said. The agreement announced in November last year allows Google, part of Alphabet, to include Apple and Samsung in tracking fitness and smartwatches, among others, including Huawei and Xiaomi.
Apple is a global leader in wearables with a market share of 29.3% in the first quarter of 2020, followed by Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, according to data from market research firm International Data Corp. Fitbit’s market was 3%. Still, the deal received heavy criticism from privacy advocates on both sides of the Atlantic, concerned that Google could use Fitbit’s wealth of health data to increase its dominance in online advertising and research.
Earlier this month, EU regulators asked rival handheld device manufacturers, application developers and other online and healthcare service providers about their views. Google can address competition concerns by making a binding promise to EU competition officials, in line with last year’s pledge not to use Fitbit’s health and wellness data for Google ads, people said.
The European Commission, which will decide the deal on July 20, declined to comment. The deadline for Google to offer concessions is July 13. Otherwise, a four-month investigation will begin after the EU’s preliminary assessment, sources said. Google said the deal is about devices, not data.
“The space for wearables is very busy and we believe that the combination of the hardware efforts of Google and Fitbit will increase competition in the industry, which will benefit consumers and make the next generation of devices better and more accessible,” said a spokesperson. voice. “During this process, we were clear about our commitment to not using Fitbit health and wellness data in Google ads and our responsibility to give people the option and control with their data,” she said.
The United States Department of Justice is also reviewing the agreement, while the Australian regulator said it could hurt competition.