Google can ward off EU antitrust probe into Fitbit deal with data pledge – Security – Finance

Google may be able to stave off a full-scale EU antitrust investigation into its planned US$ billion bid for health and fitness tracker maker Fitbit by pledging not to use Fitbit’s health knowledge for its advertisements, people familiar with the matter claimed.

The deal declared in November very last yr will allow Google, a unit of Alphabet, to just take on Apple and Samsung in the health and fitness trackers and intelligent watches market place, wherever other players include things like Huawei and Xiaomi.

The chief in the international wearables market place was Apple with a 29.three p.c market place share in the very first quarter of 2020, adopted by Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, according to knowledge from market place research agency IDC.

Fitbit’s share was three p.c.

Even now, the deal has drawn heavy criticism from privateness advocates on both of those sides of the Atlantic, concerned that Google may use Fitbit’s trove of health knowledge to strengthen its dominance in on-line advertising and search.

Before this month, EU regulators asked rival makers of wearable gadgets, app builders and other on-line assistance companies as well as healthcare companies for their views.

Google could allay opposition problems by providing a binding pledge to EU opposition enforcers alongside the lines of its guarantee very last yr not to use Fitbit’s health and wellness knowledge for Google advertisements, the people claimed.

The European Fee, which is scheduled to come to a decision on the deal by July 20, declined to comment. The deadline for Google to present concessions is July 13.

Google claimed the deal is about gadgets and not knowledge.

“The wearables place is extremely crowded, and we believe that the mix of Google’s and Fitbit’s components efforts will improve opposition in the sector, benefiting buyers and building the subsequent generation of gadgets much better and additional economical,” a spokesperson claimed.

“All over this system we have been obvious about our dedication not to use Fitbit health and wellness knowledge for Google advertisements and our duty to supply people with option and regulate with their knowledge,” she claimed.

The US Justice Division is also examining the deal although the Australian regulator claimed it could harm opposition.

Maria J. Danford

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