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    EU’s Google-Fitbit antitrust decision deadline pushed into 2021


    The deadline for Europe to make a phone on the Google -Fitbit merger has been pushed out all over again — with EU regulators now obtaining until eventually January 8, 2021, to take a decision.

    The newest change to the provisional deadline, spotted previously by Reuters, could be the end result of 1 of the get-togethers asking for a lot more time.

    Last month the deadline for a selection was extended until December 23 — potentially pushing the decision out further than a yr right after Google introduced its intention to get Fitbit, again in November 2019. So if the tech huge was hoping for a easy and swift regulatory rubberstamping its hopes have been diminishing since August when the Commission announced it was going to dig into the detail. At the time bitten and all that.

    The proposed Fitbit acquisition also comes as Alphabet, Google’s father or mother, is beneath extreme antitrust scrutiny on various fronts on house turf.

    Google featured prominently in a report by the House Judiciary Committee on big tech antitrust concerns previously this thirty day period, with US lawmakers recommending a vary of remedies — which include breaking up platform giants.

    European lawmakers are also in the system of drawing up new rules to regulate so-called ‘gatekeeper’ platforms — which would practically definitely implement to Google. A legislative proposal on that is envisioned just before the end of this calendar year, which signifies it may appear just before EU regulators have taken a decision on the Google-Fitbit offer. (And one imagines Google isn’t just stoked about that possibility.)

    Both competition and privacy worries have been raised towards allowing for Google get its arms on Fitbit users’ information.

    The tech giant has responded by presenting a amount of pledges to try out to convince regulators — indicating it would not use Fitbit wellness and wellness data for adverts and providing to have info separation specifications monitored. It has also explained it would dedicate to preserve third parties’/rivals’ obtain to its Android ecosystem and Fitbit’s APIs.

    On the other hand rival wearable makers have continued to criticize the proposed merger. And, before this week, consumer protection and human legal rights teams issued a joint letter — urging regulators to only approve the takeover if “merger solutions can correctly prevent [competition and privacy] harms in the short and extensive term”.

    Just one point is obvious: With antitrust worries now writ substantial versus ‘big tech’ the period of ‘friction-free’ acquisitions appears to be like to be driving Google et al.

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