The EU antitrust regulators have launched a full-scale investigation into Google's Fitbit deal. Back in November 2019, Google announced a $2.1 billion deal to acquire Fitbit. The prolonged investigation will take place even after Google saying the Fitbit acquisition is all about devices and not data.
Obviously, this outcome is expected from the intense talks that happened between the regulators and Google over the last few weeks. According to the regulators, the investigation of the Google-Fitbit deal will complete by December 9. Google also said to cooperate with the regulators during this process.
The prolonged Google – Fitbit investigation will complete by December 9
In its report, the commission voiced its concern that the proposed deal can solidify Google's market position in online advertising. Google is already collecting a vast amount of data to personalize the ads for displaying on its platforms. More importantly, Google itself serves these ads.
Over the last decade, the EU has launched several antitrust investigations into Google for violating its laws and has been fined over €8 billion in total. Also, the deal is under scrutiny by the authorities from the US and Australia.
While the US regulators are yet to give the nod to the deal, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has raised concerns over Google's access to sensitive health data. During the initial announcement of the proposed acquisition, Google has mentioned that Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.
However, there is a lot of backlash from privacy activists and lawmakers. While the deal was initially expected to be completed by the end of this year, it could get delayed until next year. According to the previous reports, the EU antitrust regulators are also discussing with the competitors of Google and Fitbit.
Fitbit currently has 30 million active users
The key outcome will be how this deal could affect the wearable market and other fitness tracking apps listed on the Google Play Store. Google doesn't sell any hardware products related to fitness or health.
Furthermore, the Wear OS by Google powers most of the smartwatches available in the market. Speaking of Fitbit, it has sold over 100 million wearable devices and has about 30 million active users. It is one of the top 5 brands in the wearable category, in terms of global shipments.
Fitbit also had formal partnerships with several insurers across the world. In August 2019, the Singapore government also partnered with Fitbit for its nation-wide public health program.