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After Google's Fitbit deal, Europe's antitrust chief fears for data privacy

Google's Fitbit deal requires EU regulatory approval

Reuters  |  Lisbon 

Margrethe Vestager, EU
Margrethe Vestager

The acquisition of for their data is concerning in general for regulators, Europe's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said on Thursday, a week after bought fitness trackers company .

Alphabet Inc-owned paid $2.1 billion (£1.6 billion) for to help it take on Apple and Samsung Electronics in the crowded market for fitness trackers and smart watches.

Vestager declined to comment on the deal specifically but said there was general unease among regulators when data-heavy are the targets of bids.

Google's deal has triggered calls from competitors to competition enforcers to take a tough line. Fitbit, which helped pioneer the wearable devices craze, has an invaluable trove of health data.

"In general we have a concern if merge because of data," Vestager told a news briefing at Web Summit.

She added that regulators then considered the questions of, does this create a barrier to entry, will this make it more difficult to innovate and does a risk to privacy issues arise from that kind of data coming together.

Google's deal requires EU regulatory approval.

Vestager has in the last two years handed down more than 8 billion euros in fines to for stifling competitors in three separate cases involving its price comparison shopping product, its Android smartphone operating system and in search advertising brokering.

First Published: Thu, November 07 2019. 23:26 IST