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ACCC Remains Skeptical Regarding Google’s Acquisition Of Fitbit

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Google announced that it is buying wearable manufacturer Fitbit back in November 2019 in a deal valued at $2.1 billion. The transaction has gone through multiple phases; part of which has been a probe from the European Commission regarding antitrust concerns. However, Google remains optimistic of completing the purchase by the end of this year. Now, regulatory authorities such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are also looking into the deal.

 

Draft undertakings have been submitted by Google which prohibits the company from utilising user data mined from Fitbit as well as future wearables developed by the company for its own advertising purposes for 10 years. And the restriction could be extended by another 10 years if it is deemed necessary. That being clear, Google also has to provide certain user data to third-party health apps; and ensure their interoperability with Android handsets for the next 10 years.

 

ACCC chairman Rod Sims went on to say that: “Our decision to begin consultation should not be interpreted as a signal that the ACCC will ultimately accept the undertaking and approve the transaction. Feedback from interested parties will assist us to decide whether the behavioural remedy proposed is capable of addressing our competition concerns regarding this transaction.

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“Our concerns are that Google buying Fitbit will allow Google to build an even more comprehensive set of user data; further cementing its position and raising barriers to entry to potential rivals.”

 

The undertaking is in place to deny Google any potential anti-competitive behaviour; and to discourage it from utilizing user data gained from this acquisition to enhance its targeted advertising capabilities.

 

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