Google’s Fitbit Acquisition Could Face Prolonged Investigation From EU Regulators

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Google announced a $2.1 billion deal to acquire Fitbit in November last year. The deal is under tight scrutiny by the antitrust authorities, both in the US and in Europe. According to the latest information, the EU regulators are raising new demands to make the deal possible.

The search-engine giant has to pledge that it will not use the Fitbit's information to further enhance its search advantage. Also, the company has to grant third parties equal access to the data. The deal was initially expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

EU regulators now seek major demands from Google over Fitbit deal

Looking at the current scenario, it could possibly get delayed beyond this year. Earlier to these new demands, Google was only requested not to use fitness data for advertising. However, the company has already mentioned that Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.

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Additionally, the existing Fitbit users will have the choice to review, move, or delete their data. Furthermore, the EU has also reportedly surveyed competitors of Google and Fitbit about how the deal could affect the marketplace and other fitness tracking apps on the Play Store.

The EU regulators have to decide on approving the deal or initiate a more prolonged investigation by August 8. Intense talks are said to be continuing between the EU regulators and Google. Based on the new set of demands and discussions with competitors suggest there might be an extended investigation on this deal.

There could be 4-month investigation over the deal

According to the source, the prolonged investigation might end up with fewer or no pledges. Last month, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also raised concerns over Google's access to sensitive health data. Even the US regulators are yet to give the nod to the deal.

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Google could gain a competitive edge over its competitors in the global digital health markets with the help of Fitbit's data. With no hardware products in the consumer wearable market, the company says the acquisition is all "about devices, not data."

If the deal goes through, we can expect Google-branded smartwatches and fitness trackers in the coming years. However, the company is also facing opposition from consumer groups in several countries. Google which has a little competition in the online advertising and search markets could further strengthen its position with this data.