WASHINGTON – Twenty advocacy organizations from the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere signed a statement on Wednesday urging regulators to be skeptical about Google’s $2.1 billion fitness tracker company Fitbit Inc due to privacy and competition issues.
The twenty groups including the U.S.-based Public Citizen, Access Now from Europe, and the Brazilian Consumer Defense Institute – argued that the agreement would increase the already substantial effect on Google’s digital markets.
“Recent experience indicates that regulators must be very cautious about any promises made by merging parties to limit the use of data from the acquisition target. Regulators will presume that in practice, Google would use the whole of the special, highly sensitive data set currently independent of Fitbit in conjunction with its own, “the groups said.
Signatories included Australian and Canadian groups.
A Google spokeswoman said the room was filled with tech wearables.
This deal concerns devices, and not data,” she said. “We conclude that the combination of hardware initiatives by Google and Fitbit will improve competition in the market.”
Google revealed the November deal to take on rivals for fitness trackers and smartwatches in the crowded industry. Deep-pocketed firms such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd have challenged Fitbit’s market share.
This month, Australia’s competition regulator said it may have reservations about the agreement and will make a final decision in August.
By 20 July, EU antitrust regulators must determine whether to terminate the agreement with or without concessions or to launch a longer investigation.
In Washington, Google is under antitrust investigation by the Justice Department, a congressional committee, and hundreds of states for allegedly hurting smaller rivals by using its enormous market power.
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