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Europe Approves Google’s Fitbit Acquisition

Google’s acquisition is cleared, with a catch.
(Zaki)
(Zaki)
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The European Commission approved Google’s acquisition of FitBit, WSJ and The Information report.

What Happened: The European Union’s antitrust watchdog had initially paused Google’s $2.1 billion purchase of the popular fitness watchmaker, “with critics of Big Tech lobbying intensely for regulators to intervene over privacy fears” and “concerns Google could hurt other wearable devices which use its Android platform.”

But the Commission, led by Margrethe Vestager, gave the green light Thursday, including a series of 10-year commitments to ease any antitrust concerns.

  • Google reportedly compromised, promising not to use data from Fitbit devices in its ad business or placing new restrictions on other wearables.

Vestager also pointed out the competitive nature of the space and Google’s lesser role in the European wearables market.

  • Apple, Samsung and Garmin all have significant wearables businesses.

The timing is a bit ironic, though. Google is already in tons of antitrust hot water regarding its search engine deal with Apple and other alleged anti-monopolistic practices, such as in its digital advertising business.

The Takeaway: It appears Google is safe on this front, but it’s important to note Australian regulators are in the middle of a similar ongoing investigation into the deal.

Justin Oh:

Data, data, data. As the CFO of a data science software company, take it from me. Data is valuable to a company that can monetize insights from it. Regulators are trying to curb the monetization of consumer data for advertising, but I am confident that Google’s ambitions for Fitbit are more for healthcare rather than advertising…

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