Google’s Fitbit acquisition will reportedly face full EU antitrust investigation


Google is no stranger to EU antitrust investigations.

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Google’s bid to enter the fitness tracker market through its acquisition of Fitbit is reportedly set to hit a major roadblock next week. The EU’s Competition Commission is readying itself to open a full-scale investigation into the purchase, Reuters reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The tech giant announced its $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit in November and has been actively trying to avoid such an investigation by the EU. In a bid to secure approval, Google promised last month that it wouldn’t use customer health data gleaned from Fitbit for ad targeting.

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The Fitbit deal will rev up Google’s competition with Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi for device sales, expanding beyond phones to offer fitness trackers and smartwatches. Fitbit previously dominated the wearables marketplace, but it has slowly been overtaken by the Apple Watch and other competitors. By 2020 its position had slipped and it was the No. 5 wearables maker globally, according to IDC, but the company is still seeing decent growth in shipments overall.

Google clearly sees the potential for the company to enhance its devices portfolio, but its assurances over data usage don’t seem to have impressed the EU.

See also: Fitbit Charge 4 review: Built-in GPS and better sleep tracking, plus it’s pretty

The Commission is conducting its preliminary review into the matter, due to conclude Aug. 4, after which it will announce an antitrust investigation, said Reuters’ sources. A spokeswoman for the European Competition Commission declined to comment.

Google is no stranger to dealing with EU antitrust investigations. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, it was hit with a trio of fines totaling $9.3 billion for breaking EU competition rules. More is at stake here — the company will be hoping the EU doesn’t attempt to undo the acquisition altogether.

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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