Google’s Fitbit acquisition is under the scanner for heightened scrutiny by the antitrust regulators for the highly talked about Fitbit deal with 2.1 Billion. The tech giant announced the addition of health and fitness tracker wearables maker Fitbit last year, supposed to complete the transaction in 2020.
Antitrust Regulators To Strictly Scrutinize Google Fitbit Acquisition
The antitrust regulators are now advocating stringent scrutiny of the deal as there are speculations about the increased penetration of the search engine giants in the user’s data including heart rates, sleep patterns, and fitness regimes. Fitbit is one of the world’s most sophisticated fitness trackers with a high number of watches sold each year.
Competitors asked about the impact of the deal.
Reportedly, the regulators have asked the competitors of Google and Fitbit to fill out a questionnaire of almost 60 pages to assess and detail how the acquisition will impact the digital fitness and health industry. The regulators have sought industry opinion on the disadvantage of the various fitness apps on the Google marketplace for apps. It also tries to assess how Google can utilize user data from health apps and devices for profiling and enhancing its ads.
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The decision by 20th July
Reportedly the European Union regulators are looking to provide the decision by 20th July. As per the reports, the trading bloc can either allow the deal straightforward or start a 4-month long probe into the matter to explore the issues by authorities as reported by Financial Times, that the questionnaires being sent to the rival companies indicate that the regulators may initiate an extended probe into the matter.
The consumer advocacy group from several countries have addressed the deal as the test case for the regulators as it calls out for data monopoly by the leading companies. CNET reported that groups have a concern about the privacy of user data.
Concerns over data exploitation by consumer advocacy groups
“Google could exploit Fitbit’s exceptionally valuable health and location datasets, and data collection capabilities, to strengthen its already dominant position in digital markets such as online advertising” “Google could also use Fitbit’s data to establish a commanding position in digital and related health markets, depriving competitors of the ability to compete effectively.”
Google assured of not using fitness data for ads.
Google has said that Fitbit health and wellness data would not be used for its advertising services. Moreover, antitrust regulators and attorneys have indicated that it would be extraordinarily difficult to bring a case in this deal as the two companies do not have a monopoly in the wearables market. However, the concerns over data access can be a roadblock in the deal approval.