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Saturday, January 23, 2021

EU clears Google’s purchase of Fitbit, with conditions over data

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EU regulators have cleared Google’s plan to buy fitness tracking device maker Fitbit after the company promised to silo off user data and not use it for advertising.

The US tech giant also pledged to ensure Android phones can continue working with other smartwatches and wearable devices and that health and fitness apps would still be able to access Google and Fitbit data.

Google made the commitments, which last for at least 10 years, to get approval from the EU after the bloc’s competition watchdog launched an-depth investigation of the 2.1 billion dollar (£1.5 billion) deal this year.

Human rights and consumer groups had called on authorities to block the deal, citing privacy and competition concerns.

The EU was initially worried the deal would expand Google’s “data advantage” and raise barriers for rivals in the online ad industry.

Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she approved the deal because Google’s commitments “will ensure that the market for wearables and the nascent digital health space will remain open and competitive”.

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