Google faces a protracted European Union probe to takeovers of Fitbit IncAugust 4, 2020
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Google faces a protracted European Union probe to its $2.1 billion takeovers of Fitbit Inc amid worries about
how health information can strengthen the search giant’s energy in online marketing.
The EU will explore how data from Fitbit’s fitness trackers increases Google’s”data advantage” in online marketing that rivals would struggle to match,
the European Commission said in a statement on Tuesday.Officials set a first Dec 9 deadline to accept or waive the deal.
Regulators are increasingly scrutinizing Silicon Valley takeovers, aiming to prevent the powerful firms
from beating innovative new markets in which data is often the most precious asset.
Privacy and consumer advocates have been calling on the EU to examine the way
the deal could make it possible for the Alphabet Inc unit to expand in to healthcare.
“This information provides key insights about the life and the health problem of the users of those devices,” explained Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust commissioner.
“Our investigation aims to make sure that command by Google over data collected through
wearable apparatus as a consequence of the transaction doesn’t distort competition.”
The EU will focus on online search advertisements in which it says Google is leading in most of Europe
and on online display advertisements where it states Google retains a strong market position in 20 European countries.
It is going to also examine ad technician services, how the deal will affect digital healthcare.
And if Google can make it more difficult for rivals to make devices that work nicely with its Android cell phone program.
Google insisted that the”deal is all about apparatus, not data,” based on a blog article.
“There’s vibrant competition when it comes to smartwatches and fitness trackers, together with Apple, Samsung, Garmin, Fossil, Huawei, Xiaomi.
And lots of others offering many different products in a range of prices. We don’t currently sell or make wearable devices like these today.”
Google said it will not utilize Fitbit health data for Google advertisements and will give Fitbit users a choice to review, move or delete their information.
The company will also”support wide connectivity and interoperability” of all Google products with others.
Google and Fitbit stocks were little changed at 11 am in New York.
Fitbit deal is set to be”a stressing game-changer” said Monique Guyens, the mind of European consumer advocacy group BEUC.
The EU probe is very important”because wearable apparatus like Fitbit’s could give businesses details of basically what users do 24/7 and feed back digital services.”
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