Alphabet Inc’s Google has reportedly pledged to the European Union that it will not be using the health data of Fitbit for targeting ads. It is being speculated that this claim could be an attempt from Google to address EU’s antitrust concerns regarding its proposed $2.1 billion worth acquisition of the fitness tracker company.
As per sources familiar with the knowledge of the matter, Google, in an emailed statement, claimed that the deal concerned the use of devices, and not data. The company appreciates the opportunity to work with the European Commission on a specific approach that safeguards customer expectations pertaining to whether Fitbit data will be used for advertising, the statement further says.
For the uninitiated, the deal between Fitbit and Google was declared in November 2019, and is expected to help Google step ahead of market leaders Samsung and Apple, in the fitness tracking and smartwatch domain, in tandem with other vendors such as Xiaomi and Huawei.
According to the data from International Data Corp., Fitbit holds a mere 3% of the global wearables market share, as on Q1 2020, and is far behind Apple, that holds a share of 29.3%, and others, including Huawei, Xiaomi, and Samsung.
The deal between Google and Fitbit drew heavy flak post announcement, from numerous privacy advocates, claiming that the U.S. tech conglomerate is likely to use Fitbit’s portfolio of health data to enhance its dominance in the online advertising and search business. However, privacy issues do not apparently fall under the competition rules.
As per reliable sources, the European Commission is anticipated to seek feedback from users and rivals, prior to making the decision of whether to approve or disapprove the deal, or demand further concessions. It may also go in for a four-month-long investigation in case it has serious concerns.