The European Fee has launched an in-depth probe into Google’s takeover of Fitbit, it stated in an announcement on August 4. The Fee stated it was involved that the proposed transaction will additional entrench Google’s market place within the internet marketing markets by growing the already huge quantity of information that it makes use of for personalisation of the adverts it serves and shows.

Google had introduced the acquisition of wearables firm FitBit for $2.1 billion in November 2019, to assist make investments additional in Put on OS and introduce Made by Google wearables into the market. The transaction was notified to the Fee on 15 June 2020. The watchdog stated its investigation needs to be accomplished by 9 December.

The Fee’s main issues

Google had knowledgeable the Fee on July 13, that it’ll create an information silo to individually retailer information collected from wearables. It additionally dedicated that Google won’t use that information for promoting. Nonetheless, the Fee stated that the information silo dedication proposed by Google is inadequate to obviously dismiss doubts concerning the results of the transaction. It added that the information silo treatment didn’t cowl all the information that Google would entry on account of the transaction and can be priceless for promoting functions.

The Fee can be of the opinion that by buying Fitbit, Google would purchase the database maintained by Fitbit about its customers’ well being and health, and likewise the know-how to develop a database just like Fitbit’s.

As well as, the Fee will look at:

  • The results of the mix of Fitbit’s and Google’s databases and capabilities within the digital healthcare sector, which continues to be at a nascent stage in Europe
  • Whether or not Google would have the power and incentive to degrade the interoperability of rivals’ wearables with Google’s Android working system for smartphones as soon as it owns Fitbit.
  • At this stage of the investigation, the Fee considers that Google:
  • Is dominant within the provide of on-line search promoting providers within the EEA (European Financial Space) nations (aside from Portugal for which market shares will not be out there)
  • Holds a robust market place within the provide of on-line show promoting providers in a number of European nations together with Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK amongst others, particularly in relation to off-social networks show adverts
  • Holds a robust market place within the provide of advert tech providers within the EEA.

What Google stated: “This deal is about devices, not data,” stated Rick Osterloh, senior VP for units and providers at Google. “We’ve been clear from the beginning that we will not use Fitbit health and wellness data for Google ads. We recently offered to make a legally binding commitment to the European Commission regarding our use of Fitbit data. As we do with all our products, we will give Fitbit users the choice to review, move or delete their data. And we’ll continue to support wide connectivity and interoperability across our and other companies’ products,” he added.

Privateness issues

In Europe: Earlier than this, the European Knowledge Safety Fee had raised privateness issues across the acquisition, saying that “the combination and accumulation of sensitive personal data regarding people in Europe by a major tech company could entail a high level of risk to privacy and data protection”.

Privateness and antitrust issues across the acquisition have been raised within the US: A coalition of privateness, shopper and social justice teams had, in November 2019, requested the USA authorities to dam the acquisition, citing antitrust and privateness issues. Fitbit would assist Google to extend its dominance over web searches, and provides it one other strategy to collect well being data, the coalition had stated.