It is no surprise that the European Commission today announced the opening an investigation into Google’s Fitbit acquisition. The American giant had rounded up the specialist in health bracelets for $ 2.1 billion as of November 2019.
Europe now fears that Google’s position will be strengthened in online advertising markets. It could indeed retrieve personal health and fitness information from Fitbit users, in order to better target the ads it serves through its search engine. Google’s competitors would find themselves at a disadvantage and advertisers forced to turn to it and accept higher prices.
Will the competition be distorted?
“This data provides key information about the lives and health of the users of these devices. Our investigation aims to ensure that Google’s control of data collected via portable devices as a result of the transaction does not distort competition ”, said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission and in charge of competition.
This decision follows a preliminary investigation phase lasting several months. The Commission will also seek to determine whether Google would have the ability to degrade the interoperability of competing products with Android to benefit those of Fitbit.
Google is currently committed to creating a silo system to isolate data from Fitbit and not use it for its own business purposes. But Europe considers that this is not enough. The European Commission has until December 9 to make a decision.