Google Said to Sweeten Fitbit Concessions, Heading for EU Approval

Wearables

Alphabet unit Google has tweaked its concessions aimed at allaying EU antitrust concerns about its $2.1 billion (roughly Rs. 15,400 crores) purchase of Fitbit, people familiar with the matter said, putting it on course to secure EU approval for the deal.

The world’s most popular Internet search engine last month offered to restrict the use of Fitbit data for Google ads, facilitate rival makers of wearables seeking to connect to the Android platform and allow third parties’ continued access to Fitbit users’ data with their consent.

Google revised the package after the European Commission received feedback from rivals and consumers, the people said, declining to provide details. The move also helps to stave off a possible EU charge sheet setting out specific concerns.

The EU competition enforcer has to date not sought further feedback from the market, indicating that the changes have likely passed muster with the Commission.

It was earlier reported that EU antitrust regulators have extended their investigation into Fitbit to December 23.

The EU competition enforcer kicked off a full-scale probe into the deal in August, saying Google’s pledge not to use Fitbit’s data for advertising purposes was insufficient to address competition concerns.

“The Commission extended the deadline in agreement with the parties,” the EU executive said in an email.

Google has said the combination of its and Fitbit’s hardware would boost competition in the sector where players include Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, and others.

“Our investigation aims to ensure that control by Google over data collected through wearable devices as a result of the transaction does not distort competition,” said European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, who also is the EU’s competition commissioner.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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