Economy & Politics

EU investigates Google buyout of Fitbit

The European Commission announced on Tuesday to look into the possible sale of the specialist in connected objects for physical activities. The fear is that the American giant’s position in the online advertising market will be strengthened.

The European Commission announced on Tuesday to look into the possible sale of the specialist in connected objects for physical activities. The fear is that the American giant’s position in the online advertising market will be strengthened.

Brussels, August 4, 2020 (AFP) – The European Commission “fears that the proposed transaction will further strengthen Google’s position in online advertising markets, by increasing the already large volume of data that Google could use to personalize advertisements that it offers or that it displays ”. This is what the European executive has just indicated on Tuesday after Google’s announcement to get its hands on Fitbit.

“Our investigation aims to ensure that at the end of the transaction, Google’s control over the data collected through wearable devices will not distort competition,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the Commission in charge of competition policy. She stressed that the use of connected objects “should increase considerably over the coming years” and be accompanied “by an exponential growth in the data generated by these devices”. “These data provide essential information on the life and health of users of these devices,” she noted.


The European judges on Wednesday annulled the decision of the European Commission which had forced, in 2016, the American giant to pay Ireland the amount of tax benefits deemed undue. The CJEU judgment stating that Dublin had not achieved a “selective economic advantage”


The number one search engine had announced at the end of 2019 the acquisition of Fitbit, one of the world leaders in connected objects specializing in activities related to sport and well-being. Contract amount: 1.9 billion euros, the transaction to be concluded in 2020.

But this takeover has raised fears, on the part of consumer organizations and the European regulator of personal data, who see it as a threat to the confidentiality of this data on the health of people with a connected bracelet.

Also, the American giant had tried to allay the concerns of the Commission on July 13, by committing to create a system in which “certain data collected by means of portable devices would have been kept separate from other series of data held by Google ”. The isolated data “would have been prohibited from use by Google for advertising purposes”. Insufficient.


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