Friday, June 14, 2024

Deal of Google’s Fitbit Needs Close Scrutiny, Privacy Groups Warn.

“We believe the combination of Google’s and Fitbit’s hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector”. Google announced the deal in November to take on competitors in the crowded market for fitness trackers and smartwatches.

The takeover of fitness tracker Fitbit Inc. by Alphabet Inc.’s Google should get close scrutiny from global regulators because it would allow Google to strengthen its already dominant position in digital markets, privacy, and consumer.

A coalition of 20 organizations raised their concerns Thursday in a statement sent to antitrust authorities in seven jurisdictions, including the U.S. and the European Union, which is set to rule on the deal later this month or extend its review.

“This will be a test case for how regulators address the immense power the tech giants exert over the digital economy and their ability to expand their ecosystems unchecked”.

Australia’s competition authority said this month that it may have concerns about the deal and would make a final decision in August. EU antitrust regulators will decide by July 20 whether to clear the deal with or without concessions or open a longer investigation.

Google said in a statement on Wednesday night that “this deal is about devices, not data. The wearables space is highly crowded, and we believe the combination of Google and Fitbit’s hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector, benefiting consumers and making the next generation of devices better and more affordable.”

In Washington, Google is under antitrust investigation by the Justice Department, a congressional committee, and dozens of states for allegedly using its massive market power to harm smaller competitors.

The groups joining the statement include the Omidyar Network, the Open Society European Policy Institute, Privacy International, and the Australian Privacy Foundation. They also sent the statement to regulators in the UK, Canada, Australia, Mexico, and Brazil.

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