The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has expressed serious concerns about Google’s proposed acquisition of Fitbit, stating that the deal could result in Google gaining access to a vast amount of user data. This would solidify Google’s dominant position in the market and create barriers for potential competitors.

The ACCC’s main worry is the potential expansion of Google’s user data collection capabilities. Fitbit’s fitness trackers collect personal health and activity data, which, when combined with Google’s existing data, could create detailed profiles of individuals. This raises concerns about the potential misuse of this data and threatens privacy.

Furthermore, the ACCC fears that this acquisition would strengthen Google’s dominant position in the digital advertising market. With more user data at their disposal, Google could enhance its targeting capabilities, making it difficult for potential rivals to compete. This could limit choices for advertisers and consumers alike and harm competition in the advertising space.

The regulator’s concerns reflect the wider issue of increasing consolidation in the tech industry. Major tech companies, including Google, have been acquiring smaller firms to gain control over user data. This trend raises concerns about the concentration of power and the potential for anticompetitive behavior.

The ACCC’s concerns over the Google-Fitbit deal are a significant development in the ongoing regulatory scrutiny surrounding the acquisition. In 2019, the ACCC expressed concerns about Google’s dominance in the online advertising market, leading to an inquiry into digital platforms.

The ACCC will continue to investigate the proposed acquisition and may take further action if its concerns are not addressed. The outcome of the investigation will have far-reaching implications for Google, Fitbit, and the broader digital advertising and tech industries. It will shape how regulatory authorities respond to consolidation and work to preserve competition and protect consumer interests in the rapidly evolving digital era.

Useful links:
1. ACCC’s official statement on investigating Google’s Fitbit acquisition
2. ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry Final Report