Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit acquisition wins conditional approval from the European competition commission

Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of wearable tech company Fitbit earned the European Commission’s conditional approval, the Competition Commission said in a press release on 17 December 2020. It follows the Commission’s investigation into the company’s promise not to use Fitbit users’ health data for targeted ads. Under the Commission’s conditions, the search giant can’t use the data of EU Fitbit users for advertising, it must maintain a technical separation between Fitbit and Google data, and make sure EU users have a clear choice about using health data for other Google services.

In approving the deal, Google has now agreed to a number of concessions to ease EU concerns. Among the concessions, Google has agreed not to use Fitbit data, including GPS and health data, gathered from any user in the European Economic Area (EEA) for targeted advertising.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “We can approve the proposed acquisition of Fitbit by Google because the commitments will ensure that the market for wearables and the nascent digital health space will remain open and competitive. The commitments will determine how Google can use the data collected for ad purposes, how interoperability between competing wearables and Android will be safeguarded and how users can continue to share health and fitness data, if they choose to.”