Technology

Advocacy teams elevate considerations over Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit bid


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(Reuters) — Twenty advocacy teams from the United States, Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere signed an announcement Wednesday urging regulators to be cautious of Google’s $2.1 billion bid for health tracker firm Fitbit due to privateness and competitors considerations.

The 20 organizations — which embrace the U.S.-based Public Citizen, Access Now from Europe and the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Defense — argued that the deal would increase the already appreciable clout in digital markets of Alphabet’s Google.

Acquiring Fitbit would give Google such intimate details about customers as what number of steps they take day by day, the standard of their sleep, and their coronary heart charges.

“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. Regulators must assume that Google will in practice utilize the entirety of Fitbit’s currently independent unique, highly sensitive data set in combination with its own,” the teams mentioned.

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Australian and Canadian teams have been among the many signatories.

A Google spokesperson mentioned the tech wearables house was crowded.

“This deal is about devices, not data,” she mentioned. “We believe the combination of Google’s and Fitbit’s hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector.”

Google introduced the deal in November to tackle rivals within the crowded marketplace for health trackers and sensible watches. Fitbit’s market share has been threatened by deep-pocketed corporations like Apple and Samsung.

Australia’s competitors authority mentioned this month that it could have considerations in regards to the deal and would make a last determination in August.

EU antitrust regulators will determine by July 20 whether or not to clear the cope with or with out concessions or open an extended investigation.

In Washington, Google is below antitrust investigation by the Justice Department, a congressional committee, and dozens of states for allegedly utilizing its large market energy to hurt smaller rivals.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz, enhancing by Lisa Shumaker.)

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