The European Commission (EC) extended the deadline for completing an investigation into Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit to 23 December, more than 13 months after the deal was first announced.
Following a preliminary assessment, the EC last month launched an in-depth probe citing concerns about the deal extending Google’s already strong position in the online advertising market and allowing it to access a larger pool of personal data.
At the time EC Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the investigation aimed to “ensure that control by Google over data collected through wearable devices as a result of the transaction does not distort competition”.
Its original deadline for the wider probe was 9 December.
Google maintains the deal is about devices not data. In August its SVP for devices and services Rick Osterloh made a public commitment the company would not use health and wellness data from Fitbit for advertisements. It has also offered a legally binding pledge to the EC along the same lines.
On announcing the big-money acquisition in November 2019, Google expected the deal to close during 2020.
However, since then a number of authorities around the world have raised concerns and opened investigations into competition and data privacy implications.
Various consumer watchdogs have also voiced apprehension.