EXCLUSIVE-Google sweetens Fitbit concessions, EU okay in sight – sources

In this news, we discuss the EXCLUSIVE-Google sweetens Fitbit concessions, EU okay in sight – sources.

Alphabet’s Google has tweaked concessions to allay EU antitrust concerns over its $ 2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit, people familiar with the matter said, putting it on track to secure approval of the EU for the agreement. Last month, the world’s most popular internet search engine offered to restrict the use of Fitbit data for Google ads, help rival wearable device makers looking to connect to the Android platform, and allow continued access by third parties to Fitbit user data with their consent.

Google revised the package after the European Commission received feedback from competitors and consumers, the people said, declining to provide details. The move could also help avoid a possible EU fee sheet exposing specific concerns. To date, the EU’s competition enforcement officer has not solicited further comments from the market, indicating that the changes are likely to have been made with the Commission.

The EU competition chief, who earlier Friday extended the deadline for his decision to Jan.8 from Dec.23 in agreement with Google, declined to comment. Google reiterated its previous statement, saying the deal was about devices, not data. Fitbit shares gained after the Reuters story and rose 1.58% at the start of US trading.

“The space for wearable devices is crowded and we believe that the combination of the hardware efforts of Google and Fitbit will increase competition in the industry, benefit consumers and make the next generation of devices more efficient and more affordable,” said Google said. So far, however, concessions have failed to appease competitors and customers.

A group of 19 organizations including consumer organizations and privacy advocates in the EU, US and Brazil are among the latest critics, issuing a joint letter on Thursday demanding tough concessions from Google. Once the market leader in wearable devices, Fitbit held a 3% share of the global wearable market in Q1 2020, far behind Apple’s 29.3% share, as did Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, data from ‘a market research firm International Data Corp showed.

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News Highlights:

  • Last month, the world’s most popular internet search engine offered to restrict the use of Fitbit data for Google ads, help rival wearable device makers looking to connect to the Android platform, and allow continued access by third parties to Fitbit user data with their consent. Google revised the package after the European Commission received feedback from competitors and consumers, the people said, declining to provide details.
  • EXCLUSIVE-Google softens Fitbit concessions, EU in sight – sources
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