Google’s Fitbit Purchase Under Regulatory Scrutiny

    • Google's $2.1 billion purchase of wearable company Fitbit, finalized in January, is under regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. and Australia.
    • The company is appealing an antitrust fine from the European Commission.

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Google bought Fitbit in January, but for U.S. and Australian regulators, it’s not a done deal.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the antitrust-focused Australian Competition and Consumer Commission are still investigating the $2.1 billion deal, according to Rod Sims, who heads the Australian regulatory agency.

Sims explained Friday that his agency was still determining whether the deal presents privacy issues regarding the tech giant’s huge store of consumer data.

Google agreed to restrict the use of Fitbit data in its ad targeting to gain approval from the European Commission in September 2020.

The Fitbit acquisition represents Google’s major foray into wearables — it shares a wearable tech platform with Samsung — amid other major tech and fitness companies pushing into the category.

  • The Apple Watch integrates with the company’s Apple Fitness+ workout subscription program and has been steadily adding health tracking features.
  • Facebook and Peloton are both working on biometric-tracking wearables.
  • Facebook has explored integrating data from its Oculus Move VR workout system into Apple’s health app.

This is not Google’s first antitrust challenge.

Last month, Google filed an appeal of a $5 billion fine issued by the European Commission over antitrust claims regarding its Android operating system — the largest such fine ever issued by the governing body.