People familiar with the matter said that reinforcing an earlier offer to the European Commission, Google has offered to restrict the use of Fitbit data. Reports suggest that the European Commission straight away rejected Google’s pledge not to use the fitness tracker’s data for advertising purposes.
Last Tuesday, people familiar with the matter said that Alphabet’s Google is set to win European Union antitrust approval for its US $ 2.1 billion acquisition of fitness tracker maker, Fitbit with its latest concessions to address the European Union antitrust concerns. The deal is estimated to be around INR 15,489 crores roughly.
The people said Google has offered to restrict the use of Fitbit data reinforcing an earlier offer to the European Commission. They further said that Google has also offered to make it easier for rival makers of wearable devices to connect to Google’s Android platform by offering them access to the Android application programming interface (API).
The European Commission has been scheduled to decide on the deal latest by 23rd December 2020. The European Commission has not published details of the concessions in line with its policy anywhere and also declined to comment on this matter.
The European Union competition enforcer will now have to seek feedback from rivals and customers before deciding whether to accept the concessions, demand more, or either clear or block the detail.
It must be noted that only last month, European Union rejected Google’s pledge not to use the fitness tracker’s data for advertising purposes in a bid to address competition concerns, saying that it was insufficient. Moreover, the Commission has also recently asked Google rivals and customers about interoperability issues.
According to a person familiar with the matter, the European Commission has asked Google’s rivals directly that what technical steps Google could possibly take to foreclose competition to Fitbit in order to increase its sales and what could prompt it to do so.
The source also said that the European Commission has asked these rivals about issues related to digital healthcare and the kind of data Google needs and where the US company could acquire it, the person said. According to these people, concessions might be needed in two areas. It should be noted that Healthcare providers, wearable makers, and privacy advocates have criticized the deal.
Just to let you know, as of now, Fitbit had 3 % share of the global wearables market in the first quarter of 2020. As a company it’s huge but it lagged behind other renowned companies such as Apple, Xiaomi, Samsung, and Huawei. Note that according to market research firm International Data, Apple enjoys a 29.3 % market share of wearables globally.