Google’s Fitbit Takeover Pokes EU’s Regulator the Wrong Way

by Tiago Decker

Google acquired Fitbit in a $2.1 billion cash grab offer for the smartwatch and fitness tracker firm. While Google has always dealt with privacy issues distributed over their users, the acquisition of Fitbit, a firm who shares similar privacy issues was always going to pose a challenge. And acting on the same impulse, a group of 20 consumer groups and privacy advocates have rallied the call for looking deep into Google’s acquisition of the latter.

While Google has maintained a steady flow of comments that point out that they would in no manner use Fitbit data to target adverts, critics do not remain swayed.Furthermore, the EU has began raising questions whether Google’s proposed takeover will create a power monopoly as it would possess too much of personal data. A new wave of backlash for Google began in November when they announced that they would be acquiring the loss-making Fitbit for $1.68 billion. The move was precedent as it would help shift Google into the wearable business market and offer their own brand of smartwatches in order to rival their Apple counterpart.

As part of the campaign that was underway, Privacy International said “We don’t think any company should be allowed to accumulate this much intimate information about you.” Now the EU till 20th July to decide whether to allow the deal to fall through or launch a counter investigation. A detailed questionnaire has been sent to several of Google’s and Fitbit rivals asking for information whether the following move would put them at a disadvantage.

Australia’s competition authority has also raised similar concerns about the deal. However, Google maintains a steady stand that the following deal is about devices, and not data. “We believe the combination of Google’s and Fitbit’s hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector,” Google quotes.

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