Europe wants to investigate Google's R35 billion acquisition of Fitbit
- Google will face a full EU inquisition over its floated $2.1 billion (R35 billion) purchase of fitness wearables maker Fitbit, Reuters reports.
- Regulators in Europe worry that Google will use its acquisition to hoover up even more personal data on users and use it to inform targeted ads.
- Google has denied this is the case.
- The news comes a day after Google CEO Sundar Pichai was grilled closely before Congress on Wednesday on issues of antitrust.
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EU antitrust regulators are set to open a full-scale investigation into Google's $2.1 billion bid for fitness tracker maker Fitbit, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The four-month long investigation will kick off following the end of the European Commission's preliminary review on Aug. 4, the people said.
Regulators worry that Google might use the additional data gleaned from Fitbit devices to inform its ad products.
Google earlier this month offered not to use Fitbit's health data to help it target ads in an attempt to address EU antitrust concerns. The opening of a full-scale investigation suggests that this is not sufficient.
Google announced in November 2019 that it would acquire Fitbit, but the deal has yet to be approved by regulators nine months on. The search giant has, to date, failed to make much headway in the wearables space.
Though Fitbit is a comparatively small firm with 28 million active users, the firm's devices would give Google access to highly sensitive information, even aside from advertising.. Fitbit's wearables track users' heart rates, their sleeping patterns, fitness levels, and other health information that Google does not currently have broad access to.
Australia's competition regulator warned in June that the acquisition could harm competition. In the UK, opposition party Labour wrote to Britain's competition regulator asking for a probe into the deal.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)
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