EC approves Fitbit acquisition by Google, creates rules to protect consumers and competition

As expected, the European Commission approved Google’s acquisition of Fitbit. The deal was first announced late last year and is valued at $2.1 billion. But the EC laid down some rules to ensure that the acquisition will keep the wearables market open and competitive and that consumer’s privacy will be respected.

Google has agreed not to use health and wellness data collected from Fitbit devices (from users in the EEA) for Google Ads. This covers all data, including GPS tracks and manually input info. In fact, all relevant user data for Fitbit devices and services will be kept in a “data silo”, which is separate from other Google data.

For users in the European Economic Area (EEA), Google will allow its users to choose whether Fitbit-related data can be accessed by other Google services (Search, Maps, Assistant, etc.) or not.

The EC even put in clauses that protect companies, which rely on Fitbit APIs – both the web and the Android APIs. This will allow third-party apps and services that rely on Fitbit to continue operating. Google is also forbidden from locking smartphone makers out of relevant APIs used for connecting phones and wearable devices. This will protect the “start-ups in the nascent European digital healthcare space”.

EC approves Google's acquisition of Fitbit, but puts rules in place to protect consumers and competition

All these restrictions will remain in place for 10 years. At least 10 year for the Google Ads commitment, as the Commission may decided to extend it for an additional 10 years (citing Google’s “entrenched position in the market for online advertisement).

You can follow the Source link to read the European Commission’s report, which includes details about the investigation and the worries the EC had about potential negative consequences of the acquisition going forward.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “We can approve the proposed acquisition of Fitbit by Google because the commitments will ensure that the market for wearables and the nascent digital health space will remain open and competitive. The commitments will determine how Google can use the data collected for ad purposes, how interoperability between competing wearables and Android will be safeguarded and how users can continue to share health and fitness data, if they choose to.”

Source: Gsmarena


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