• Daniyar Kylyzhov

EU allows Google to buy Fitbit but banned the use of data from fitness trackers for advertising

The European Commission has approved Google's deal to acquire Fitbit, one of the world's largest smartwatch and fitness band makers, on the condition that the company will not use user data from them for advertising. This was reported on the website of the European Union.

Google announced that it would buy Fitbit for $ 2.1 billion in 2019. Because of this, some users began to get rid of fitness bracelets, explaining this by their distrust of the American company. The company has assured that it is not acquiring Fitbit in order to obtain user data. In July 2020, Google made concessions to the EU: the company announced that it would not use information from fitness trackers to target ads.

However, EU antitrust regulators halted the deal in August over concerns that Google would use data from fitness trackers for personalized advertising. According to the European authorities, this could lead to an even greater monopolization of the online advertising market. In the event of violations of antimonopoly legislation, European regulators could cancel the deal.

As a result, the commission noted that Fitbit has a limited market share, which already has larger competitors Apple, Garmin, and Samsung - in 2019, according to IDC, Fitbit accounted for less than 5% of the European market. However, the use of user data would still be detrimental, so the commission decided to prevent Google from using it to set up ads. In addition, EU authorities have ordered that Google should technically separate its business and Fitbit and keep user information separate from other Google data, as well as provide users with the option to opt-out of sharing health data with other company services, like Google Assistant voice assistant or Google Maps. Maps.

These reservations will be valid for ten years, according to the decision of the commission. If necessary, the European authorities will be able to extend the terms of the deal for another ten years.

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