EU Regulators Extend Fitbit Antitrust Probe

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Fitness data probe. European antitrust regulators have given themselves more time to investigate Google’s acquisition of Fitbit

The antitrust investigation of Google’s acquisition of Fitbit has been extended until the end of the year.

European Union antitrust officials began their official investigation on 4 August, due to concerns the deal would give Google access to potentially sensitive data about people’s health and lifestyle.

It was triggered after Google announced last November that it was acquiring Fitbit for $2.1bn (£1.63bn), making it Google’s largest deal in the consumer space since its acquisition of smart home device maker Nest for $3.2bn in 2014.

Fitbit acquisition

The formal investigation launched by the European Commission had been expected, after officials had sent two detailed questionnaires to Fitbit’s competitors in an effort to assess the deal’s potential impact on competition.

Pressure to act increased in July when twenty advocacy groups from the United States, Europe, and Latin America signed a joint statement, saying the deal needed close scrutiny.

EC had sources suggested that Alphabet could offset an antitrust probe, if it pledged not to use Fitbit’s data for targeted adverts.

Google quickly responded and offered not to use health data of Fitbit to help it target ads.

But officials soon responded that this data pledge was not enough of a guarantee to avoid a formal antitrust probe on the matter.

And now the European Commission, according to Reuters, have extended their investigation to 23 December.

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

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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