The ACCC rejects Google’s assurance over Fitbit data usage


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) rejected an undertaking by tech giant Google that sought to address concerns of competition over its planned acquisition of Fitbit. This development comes as the tech giant remains in dispute with the Australian government over several issues including proposed laws that’ll make Aussie the first country to make Facebook and Google pay for new sourced from local media companies.

The $2.1 billion Google-Fitbit acquisition is yet to be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. While the European Commission has signed off on the $2.1 billion merger with fitness wearable device company (with a few commitments), the ACCC rejected the undertaking proposed by Google further delaying the acquisition.

Google, ACCC & the undertaking

In June 2020, the Australian regulator released a set of issues it had with the Fitbit merger that included competition concern. The concern was regarding Google giving away too much access to user data and decreasing competition in the wearables industry. Tech giant Google attempted to assure the ACCC regarding this concern by offering a court-enforceable undertaking. The undertaking included that it would behave in certain ways with its competitors, not use health data for ads and in some situations allow competition to access fitness and health data.

Although, the ACCC was not completely satisfied with this undertaking and said it still has concerns over the deal. The Australian regulator says it will continue to investigate this acquisition and has set a new date of the decision, which is 25th March 2020.

SEE ALSO: The ACCC raises concerns about Google buying Fitbit

More on the Google and Fitbit deal

When Fitbit and Google announced the acquisition, the two companies emphasized that Fitbit devices will remain platform agnostic and that the two companies will be transparent in terms of their use of health and wellness data of consumers.

Rod Sims, ACCC Chairman said while they’re aware that the European Commission accepted a similar undertaking from the tech giant, the ACCC is not satisfied that this type of a long-term behavioral understating in such a dynamic and complex industry could be monitored effectively and enforced in Australia. The ACCC recognizes that they’re a smaller jurisdiction and that a relatively smaller percentage of Google and Fitbit’s business happens in Australia, however, the regulator will reach its own view in relation to the proposed acquisition given the importance of both the companies to commerce in the country, Sims adds.

As the fitness device maker Fitbit awaits the merger to begin, it came out of the third quarter of 2020 beating its predicted revenue by $64.9 million. In the last quarter, it had $364 million in revenue, which represents a 5% year-over-year increase

SEE ALSO: The ACCC Brings Apple and Google App Stores Under Scanner

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Image Courtesy:  Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

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Riddhi Jain is a technology content writer. She is based in India and has been working as a content writer since 2018. Riddhi has been writing content in the tech domain since May 2020 and can’t get enough of it. Riddhi has pursued most of her education from her hometown, Indore. She has graduated as a Bachelor of Business Administration and discovered her love for writing blogs while pursuing an internship during college. Once she discovered her love for writing, she went on to improve this skill set (and hasn’t stopped since). Riddhi’s writing relationship with iTMunch began in May 2020. This is where she developed a knack for writing content for the technology domain. She's an expert in tech content writing who has written over 700 blogs for iTMunch in just a year. Riddhi loves diving deep into tech sub-domains like financial technology, marketing technology, HR technology, Artificial Intelligence and gaming technology. She loves staying updated with the latest and upcoming trends in digital marketing, digital payments, fintech, gaming, web design and app development. She cherishes writing about futuristic technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency, NFTs, Internet of Things, Facial Recognition, Machine Learning, Edge Computing, etc. Riddhi also likes to keep an eye on what’s going on with the tech titans like Google, Facebook and Apple. One of her major interests is in staying updated with the latest IT startups and the groundbreaking technologies they’re coming up with. When Riddhi is not writing content, she is binging on documentaries on Netflix (check out ‘The Great Hack’, ‘Seaspiracy’, and ‘What the Health’). She also likes reading books once in a while (Yuval Noah Harari and Michelle Magorian are some of her favorite authors). Riddhi also likes listening to podcasts like The Tim Ferriss Show (do listen to the ones with guest Naval Ravikant) and The Joe Rogan Experience.