BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Google’s bid to win EU approval for its $2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit faces headwinds as rivals and customers argue concessions to EU antitrust regulators do not go far enough, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
Alphabet’s Google last week offered to restrict the use of Fitbit data for Google ads and to monitor the process closely.
It also offered to make it easier for rival makers of wearables to connect to the Android platform by offering them access to Android software (API), and said third parties would continue to have access to Fitbit users’ data with their consent.
The European Commission is now seeking feedback from rivals and customers before deciding whether to accept the offer or demand more. Other sources have said the new concessions are likely to help Google secure EU clearance.
Some rivals and customers, however, plan to tell the EU competition enforcer to ask for more, the people said.
“The definition of wearable API is too narrow,” said one of the people, who said Google should broaden the scope to take into account new functionalities that come into the market in future.
Google’s 10-year data pledge also drew fire from its critics in advertising.
“Why would you limit the data separation remedy to 10 years? Bad idea. Google is making long bets. Ten years is tomorrow,” the second person said.
Respondents have until next week to provide feedback. The Commission is scheduled to decide on the deal by Dec. 23, although a ruling could come earlier.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Mark Potter)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit takeover is set for regulator approval after the tech giant made new concessions on user data, according to reports
- Google is expected to win EU approval for its $2.1 billion Fitbit deal after it addressed competition and data concerns, Reuters reported.
- The internet giant has promised it will not use Fitbit data to personalize adverts for 10 years, according to a Financial Times report.
- It will also ensure competitors can use its Android and Cloud platforms, according to people familiar with the matter.
- The EU opened a four-month long investigation into Google’s acquisition of Fitbit in August. The deal was first announced in November 2019.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of wearables company Fitbit appears to have cleared a major hurdle.
It will be cleared by EU antitrust regulators after the tech giant agreed Tuesday to restrict how it uses customer data, according to multiple reports.
Google promised regulators that it would not personalize adverts based on user data for 10 years, up from a previous promise of five years, sources with knowledge of the matter told the Financial Times.
The tech giant also guaranteed that other devices will be able to use Fitbit’s health data, if a user consents, and that Fitbit devices will still work with services like Strava and Map My Run, the FT report said.
Google also said it would let wearables competitors use the Android application programming interface (API), making it easier for them to connect to Google’s Android platform, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The European Commission is scheduled to consult with Google rivals and customers, and decide on a ruling by December 23, but the latest concessions will be enough for it to approve the deal, Reuters reported.
The commission declined to comment to Reuters, and has not published details