BRUSSELS – The European Commission on Thursday approved the acquisition by Google of smartwatch maker Fitbit against a number of conditions related to restrictions on the use of health data for advertising purposes.
The 2.1-billion-US dollar deal was given the seal of approval after Google agreed to respect the conditions for 10 years and subject to an extension of another 10 years.
“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,” said the commission’s competition Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in a statement.
“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,” she added.
The decision followed an in-depth investigation of the proposed transaction.
Following the investigation, the commission proposed a number of remedies which Google accepted. These included that Google will not use for Google Ads any health and wellness data collected from wrist-worn wearable devices and other Fitbit devices of users in the European Economic Area, the commission said.
Google and Fitbit are both American companies. Fitbit has a limited market share in Europe in the fast-growing smartwatch segment where many larger competitors are present, such as Apple, Garmin and Samsung.