Google Concessions Likely To Win EU Approval For Fitbit Deal – Report

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Alphabet division Google likely to win EU antitrust approval over its contrversial acquisition of wearable fitness provider Fitbit

The EU antitrust investigation of Google’s acquisition of Fitbit is likely to approved after fresh concessions, it is being reported.

According to Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter, the EU is now likely to give its blessing to Google’s $2.1bn (£1.63bn) purchase of Fitbit, after concerns were raised the deal would give Google access to potentially sensitive data about people’s health and lifestyle.

Those concerns prompted European Union antitrust officials to begin an official investigation on 4 August. Last week the EU extended the investigation until the end of the year.

Google concessions

According to Reuters, Google on Tuesday offered fresh concessions to the European Commission.

Google reportedly said it had offered to restrict the use of Fitbit data for Google ads and would also tighten the monitoring of that process, confirming a Reuters report.

The offer is based on a July proposal, when Google offered not to use health data of Fitbit to help it target ads.

That offer came after sources had suggested in the summer that Alphabet could offset an official antitrust probe, if it pledged not to use Fitbit’s data for targeted adverts.

And now it seems that Google has gone a step further to offset the probe.

“We’re also formalizing our longstanding commitment to supporting other wearable manufacturers on Android and to continue to allow Fitbit users to connect to third party services via APIs (application programming interfaces) if they want to,” Google was quoted as saying in a statement on Tuesday.

Third parties will continue to have access to Fitbit users’ data, with users’ consent.

The concessions are set to clear the way for the deal to be approved, the people told Reuters.

Fitbit acquisition

The Commission declined to comment on the Reuters report. Its decision is due by 23 December, but could come earlier.

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

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

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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