Google

Google Caves On Data To Get Fitbit Merger Approval

Google, trying to meet regulators halfway, offered to pledge not to use fitness data to help it target ads in its purchase of Fitbit, Reuters reported.

The offer, according to Reuters, would help Google win over EU antitrust authorities in what has been a contentious bid for the merger. Google contended that it was ready to work with regulators to ensure data is secured.

“This deal is about devices, not data,” the company said, according to Reuters. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with the European Commission on an approach that safeguards consumers’ expectations that Fitbit device data won’t be used for advertising.”

The takeover was announced last November, and would afford the search engine giant a way to compete with Apple's entries into the fitness sphere with its smart watches, alongside other competitors such as Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi.

Critics allege that Google could use Fitbit's data to help further its own search engines and continue establishing dominance over competitors.

Compared to its rivals, Fitbit has not been doing well in the athletic wearables department. It only has 3 percent of the market, trailing behind Apple's 29.3 percent share. It also lagged behind Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi, Reuters reported.

The European Commission has not yet approved the deal. It is planning to seek counsel from rivals and users before making a decision, and will either choose to approve the merger, ask for more conditions or open an investigation if any serious concerns arise.

The controversy over the proposed deal has been going on for most of 2020 thus far. PYMNTS reported that the deal, and the possibility of a lengthy investigation into what the merger means, hinged on Google's concessions.

Google already said last year that it would not be using Fitbit's health and wellness data for ads. But many, including the European Consumer Organization, worried that Google could use the data for its own means.

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