Google is nearing approval from the European Union for its acquisition of Fitbit, a popular fitness tracker manufacturer. In an effort to address antitrust concerns, Google has made additional concessions, including limiting the use of Fitbit data, which aligns with a previous offer made to the European Commission.

To foster competition in the wearables market, Google has proposed granting access to the Android API, allowing competitors to integrate their products with Android devices. This move aims to prevent the consolidation of Google’s market dominance and reduce the potential for anticompetitive practices.

The $2.1 billion deal has faced scrutiny over concerns about the misuse of personal health data. Worries have been raised about Google’s extensive data collection practices, combined with Fitbit’s wealth of health and fitness information, potentially leading to privacy invasion.

To alleviate these concerns, Google has committed to keeping Fitbit data separate from its advertising business and has pledged not to use Fitbit data for targeted advertising purposes. These promises demonstrate Google’s commitment to protect users’ data.

The pending approval from the EU follows criticism from consumer groups, privacy advocates, and rival companies, all of whom have expressed concerns about the impact of the merger on competition and data privacy rights.

Regulators, including the European Commission, have been closely monitoring the transaction, highlighting the need to safeguard consumers and ensure a fair and competitive market. Google’s dominant position in the digital advertising market has been a particular focus for regulators.

The Fitbit deal is a strategic move for Google as it aims to expand its presence in the wearables market and compete against rivals like Apple and Samsung. Fitbit’s expertise in health tracking technology and its loyal customer base make it an attractive acquisition target for Google, which seeks to strengthen its hardware offerings and establish a stronger presence in the growing health and wellness industry.

While EU approval would be a significant milestone for Google, the company still faces similar concerns from regulators worldwide. Authorities in Australia, Canada, the United States, and other jurisdictions are currently reviewing the acquisition. It is likely that Google will have to make comparable concessions to secure approval globally.

Overall, as Google progresses towards EU approval for the Fitbit acquisition, the company remains committed to addressing antitrust and data privacy concerns. By providing assurances regarding data usage and promoting competition in the wearables market, Google aims to demonstrate that the deal will benefit both consumers and industry players.

1. BBC