REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Buying Fitbit could trigger antitrust investigation against Google

A deal to buy Fitbit, the manufacturer of fitness and health wearable devices by Google, could be subject to antitrust investigations by EU regulators, unless the search giant agrees to make certain concessions. This was reported by Reuters with reference to informed sources.

REUTERS / Arnd Wiegmann

The deal, announced last November, will allow Google, the Alphabet division, to challenge Apple and Samsung fitness tracker and smartwatch market leaders along with other wearable electronics manufacturers, including Huawei and Xiaomi.

According to the research firm International Data Corp, in the first quarter of 2020, Apple leads the world market for wearable devices with a market share of 29.3%. It is followed by Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, with Fitbit accounting for 3%.

However, the deal has sparked sharp criticism from privacy advocates on both sides of the Atlantic, worried that Google might use Fitbit’s database access to increase its dominance in online advertising and search.

According to Reuters sources, Google could have removed these concerns by providing an obligation to the EU antitrust authorities in accordance with its last year’s promise not to use Fitbit data for advertising purposes.

The deadline for Google to make concessions is July 13th. Until July 20, the European Commission must decide on the deal. Google’s refusal to comply with regulatory requirements will lead to the start of a four-month investigation after completing a preliminary EU review, sources said.

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