Google, Fitbit case may hinder competition: Australian regulator


PHOTO FILE: Fitbit Blaze watch is seen in front of an Alphabet logo poster in this illustration, photo taken November 8, 2019. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

(Reuters) – Australia’s consumer watchdog, said Thursday it had concerns that the Alphabet Inc. ownedGOOGL.O) Google’s planned $ 2.1 billion acquisition of fitness tracker company Fitbit (ADJUSTMENT.N) can hinder competition from digital advertising and healthcare markets.

The transaction would provide Google with access to consumer health data, which may increase barriers to entry for competitors and cement its dominance, the Australian competition and Consumer Commission said.

The regulator describes the concerns as “preliminary” and will announce the results of its review on August 13.

“The BOI is focusing on certain online advertising services and data dependent on the health markets,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said. (

“We will explore the uniqueness and value of the potential that Fitbit data poses for Google and its potential competitors in these advertising and health markets.”

It is the leading voice competition regulator of concerns about the deal, although the US and European antitrust regulators have said they are looking at the proposed acquisition following consumer concerns and group privacy.

The ACCC also highlighted concerns over whether Google would be in favor of its own laptop, devices of more competitors when offering services on its platforms such as WearOS, Google Maps and Google Play Store.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment. Fitbit did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bangalore and Byron Kaye Sydney; Editing by Kim Coghill and Edwina Gibbs

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