The US Department of Justice (DoJ) reportedly won a scuffle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over which would scrutinise Google’s bid to acquire fitness tracker maker Fitbit, as concern mounts over the privacy implications of the deal.
Moves by Google are typically reviewed by the FTC, but the DoJ took the reins because it is already investigating other alleged anti-competitive conduct by the company, The New York Post reported.
Reuters reported consumer watchdog groups including Public Citizen and Centre for Digital Democracy had urged regulators to block the deal because it would give Google more data on Americans: CCS Insight recently estimated Fitbit’s daily active user numbers at 27 million.
The deal comes at a time of broad scrutiny of the way technology companies handle sensitive user data.
If completed, the acquisition will catapult Google to being the fifth-largest wearables vendor, placing it well to compete against Apple, Huawei and Samsung.
IDC’s recent Q3 wearables figures showed Fitbit shipped 3.5 million units, largely flat year-on-year.