The European Commission has announced that it is starting a full investigation against Google for purchase of Fitbit. Regulators fear the deal will strengthen Google’s position as an advertiser using health data used on Fitbit devices.
According to Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager: “This data provides essential information on the life and health of the users of these devices. Our research aims to ensure that Google controls the data collected via portable devices, as a result of the transaction, does not distort the competition. ”
Google is in the eye of the European Commission again
Google’s purchase of Fitbit raised concerns from the start. As Reuters described last year, the United States Department of Justice has made inquiries about the deal to prevent possible antitrust situations. At the time, Vestager himself also expressed concern about the purchase, using the argument of data acquired by Google and the vulnerability of users.
A report on Google and Fitbit was launched by the European Commission, which now ends in the formal opening an in-depth investigation into online research and use of Fitbit data, which the Commission believes could provide a competitive advantage and limit the capabilities of its competitors.
The Commission will analyze in more detail the effects of the merger of the Fitbit database with that of Google in the health sector and whether Google would have the ability to degrade Fitbit’s interoperability with other systems, such as iOS.
On June 15, 2020, the Commission notified Google of its intention to initiate the investigation. On July 13, Google presented its initial position, which was insufficient for the Commission. The full investigation is now announced and will have 90 days to continue, until December 9, 2020, when a decision must be made.
From Google explain in a press release that they will continue to work with regulatory agencies. The deal is about devices, not data ”
The company explains that “like we do with all of our products, we will give Fitbit users the ability to view, move or delete their data. And we will continue to support broad connectivity and interoperability between our products and those of other companies ”.
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Source : Engadget