Google can ward off EU antitrust probe into Fitbit deal with data pledge – Security – Finance

Google may well be in a position to stave off a comprehensive-scale EU antitrust investigation into its prepared US$two.1 billion bid for fitness tracker maker Fitbit by pledging not to use Fitbit’s wellbeing info for its adverts, people today acquainted with the matter stated.

The offer declared in November very last calendar year permits Google, a unit of Alphabet, to choose on Apple and Samsung in the fitness trackers and clever watches industry, exactly where other gamers incorporate Huawei and Xiaomi.

The chief in the international wearables industry was Apple with a 29.three p.c industry share in the to start with quarter of 2020, followed by Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, in accordance to info from industry research agency IDC.

Fitbit’s share was three p.c.

Still, the offer has drawn heavy criticism from privateness advocates on each sides of the Atlantic, worried that Google may well use Fitbit’s trove of wellbeing info to raise its dominance in on line advertising and marketing and search.

Earlier this thirty day period, EU regulators requested rival makers of wearable units, app developers and other on line service suppliers as perfectly as health care suppliers for their sights.

Google could allay competitors concerns by providing a binding pledge to EU competitors enforcers alongside the traces of its promise very last calendar year not to use Fitbit’s wellbeing and wellness info for Google adverts, the people today stated.

The European Commission, which is scheduled to come to a decision on the offer by July twenty, declined to remark. The deadline for Google to supply concessions is July thirteen.

Google stated the offer is about units and not info.

“The wearables room is very crowded, and we believe that the mixture of Google’s and Fitbit’s hardware initiatives will improve competitors in the sector, benefiting buyers and creating the following era of units far better and far more economical,” a spokesperson stated.

“In the course of this procedure we have been apparent about our determination not to use Fitbit wellbeing and wellness info for Google adverts and our responsibility to provide people today with preference and regulate with their info,” she stated.

The US Justice Division is also examining the offer whilst the Australian regulator stated it could harm competitors.