The European Commission (EC) approved Google’s divisive $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit following an in-depth probe into competition and privacy implications, though clearance is subject to the tech giant keeping its promises around data use.
In a statement, the EC noted its assessment of the competitive landscape of the digital health sector together with commitments made by Google had persuaded it to clear the deal.
Detractors across the globe have raised concerns around privacy and Google’s use of data derived from the wearables for unrelated services, with investigations opened by regulators in several markets.
The EC noted it had also received comments from parties concerned Google would grasp a dominant position in the digital health sector after closing the deal.
During its investigation the EC dismissed sector competition issues on the grounds Europe’s digital health sector was still nascent, with many active players. It also noted “Fitbit has a limited market share in Europe in the fast-growing smartwatch segment where many larger competitors are present, such as Apple, Garmin and Samsung”.
To try and appease privacy concerns, Google made a series of promises to the EC earlier this year covering data separation and opt-in facilities for users. The pledges are valid for ten years.
Google also made commitments around the use of open access to APIs in an attempt to appease any competition worries.
Clearing the deal, EC EVP and Competition Commissoner Margrethe Vestager (pictured) said: “The commitments will ensure that the market for wearables and the nascent digital health space will remain open and competitive.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back