A European Union (EU)-backed consumer group called for close scrutiny of a planned acquisition of Fitbit by Google, citing fears the search giant could amass a dominant position in online services, digital health and wearable devices.
In a report, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) argued the deal “represents a test case for the European Commission (EC) in terms of analysing effects on competition of large-scale data accumulation through acquisitions”.
As a result, the Commission should carefully consider the potential impact on “competition and innovation” of a deal which would see Google acquire Fitbit’s “exceptional data and data collection capabilities”; whether the deal would reduce consumer choice in the wearables sector “including degrading data privacy options”; along with the implications for “both digital and health markets”.
The body, which represents 45 consumer organisations from 32 European nations, noted Google could use Fitbit data “for its own benefit”, thus undermining the ability of competitors “to bring new products to consumers”.
On the health concerns, it noted some previous EC decisions had “contributed to the rise of giants whose behaviour has subsequently had to be addressed”, arguing such concerns are “far better prevented than cured”.
The BEUC is the second European body to express concern about the deal: in February, the European Data Protection Board also warned of privacy and data protection risks.
In the US, the deal is set to be scrutinised by the Department of Justice.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back