According to reports, Google’s $ 2.1 billion offer to acquire Fitbit faces serious antitrust scrutiny in Europe. According to anonymous sources quoted by Reuters, the deal is triggering a “large-scale antitrust investigation in the EU.” The EU will reportedly start its investigation on August 4 after the end of its preliminary review. The news comes amid the historic United States Congress antitrust hearing involving Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple.
The EU Commission declined to comment on the matter, but Google issued a statement denying that the acquisition will harm competition. According to a company spokesperson, “The space for portable devices is crowded, and we believe that the combination of Google and Fitbit’s hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector, benefiting consumers and making the next generation of devices be better and more affordable. ” The EU is also leading an antitrust inquiry into Facebook’s business practices.
Google last November confirmed strategies to obtain Fitbit following media reports suggested that such a deal was in the offing. Subsequent reports suggested Facebook was also interested in the deal before pulling out due to price concerns. While the social media giant was only willing to pay around $ 1 billion, Google allegedly offered $ 2.1 billion.
The deal has attracted the attention of antitrust regulators, as well as privacy advocates worldwide. Many have expressed concern that Google may use private health data to power its search algorithm or for targeted advertising. Google, however, has agreed not to use any of the data for targeted ads.
The acquisition is considered to be a try by the US search giant to recover the WearOS platform. Originally called Android Wear, the platform remains a laggard in the wearable space, even as Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the industry with WatchOS and Tizen, respectively.