Business groups challenge Google’s $2.1bn Fitbit deal over antitrust concerns
Twenty advocacy groups from the US, Europe and elsewhere have signed a statement urging regulators to look into Google’s $2.1bn bid for Fitbit, citing privacy and competition concerns.
The organisations argued regulators should be concerned about allowing Google to gain access to Fitbit’s data, which tracks personal information about its users such as the number of steps they take and their heart rate.
The coalition, which includes Access Now from Europe and Public Citizen in the US, said Google already holds a trove of data on the world’s population and permitting it to acquire more could prove anti-competitive.
“Past experience shows that regulators must be very wary of any promises made by merging parties about restricting the use of the acquisition target’s data,” the groups said.
“Regulators must assume that Google will in practice utilise the entirety of Fitbit’s currently independent unique, highly sensitive data set in combination with its own.”
The deal, announced in November last year, marked a point of consolidation in a crowded market for wearable technology.
The competition regulator in Australia said earlier this month it may have concerns about the deal, and will make a final decision by August.
Meanwhile the deadline for EU antitrust regulators to pass the deal or launch a longer investigation will expire on 20 July.
A Google spokesperson said: “This deal is about devices, not data.”
“We believe the combination of Google’s and Fitbit’s hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector.”