Google’s acquisition of Fitbit receives EU approval

Google’s acquisition of Fitbit is nearing completion as the European Commission has approved the search giant’s acquisition of the wearable technology company for $ 2.1 billion.

When Google announced the acquisition in November 2019, Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh said the Fitbit purchase was “an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS and bring Made by Google wearable devices to market.” But regulators quickly became involved, and in August they began formally investigating Google’s purchase of Fitbit over data privacy and antitrust issues.

By approving the deal, Google has now agreed to a number of concessions to address the EU’s concerns. Under the concessions, Google has agreed not to use Fitbit data, including GPS and health data, collected from users in the European Economic Area (EEA) for targeted advertising.

In addition, the company is mandated to create a technical separation between its company and Fitbit’s and to allow EEA users to approve or deny the use of fitness health data to access other Google services such as the search engine. and inform the Google Maps product. The deal’s approval also stipulates that Google will honor commitments regarding Fitbit’s Web API and its own Android API that promote competition. These commitments will be valid for 10 years.

“We can approve the proposed acquisition of Fitbit by Google as the commitments will ensure that the market for wearables and the emerging digital health space remains open and competitive,” said Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission executive vice president, in a statement. statement. “The commitments will determine how Google can use the collected data for advertising purposes, how to ensure interoperability between competing wearables and Android, and how users can continue to share health and fitness data, if they so choose.”

Australian regulators have also investigated the acquisition. At the end of last month, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) released three concessions from Google that were intended to address competition and privacy concerns related to data collected by Fitbit and Google wearables for advertising purposes and for long-term interoperability with Android telephones and third parties. party apps and wearables. The ACCC is currently looking for feedback on the proposals.

In November, Ruth Porat, the chief financial officer of Google parent company Alphabet, said she expects the offer for Fitbit to be finalized by the end of 2020.