The European Union has asked Google to make a major concession on its $2.1 billion deal to buy Fitbit, the fitness tracking company, but only if it takes place immediately,media reported. The acquisition has faced strong opposition from consumer groups and regulators since it was announced in November, fearing the impact of Google’s access to Fitbit health data on competition.
EU regulators now want Google to make a commitment not to use the information to “further enhance its search advantage” and to give third parties equal access to the information, the people said.
Just a few days ago, regulators suffered a major blow in Luxembourg, losing a landmark case. In that case, Apple would be ordered to pay Ireland 14.3 billion euros in taxes.
Brussels insiders said Google’s refusal to comply with the new requirements could lead to protracted investigations, adding that such a situation could end up putting the EU at a disadvantage.
“It’s like a poker game, ” said one person closely watching the case. ” “
Given the intensity of the takeover discussions, they added, there was no guarantee that any deal would be reached between Brussels and Google.
Google has previously promised not to use Fitbit’s health data to improve its advertising, but Brussels insiders say the pledge is not enough to allay concerns in the European Union and US regulators, which are also reviewing the deal.
Google declined to comment on the latest details of its discussions with the European Commission, but said in an earlier statement that it would not use Fitbit Health data for Google advertising, but would also give users the power to select and control their data. “Similar to our other products, we will be transparent about the data collected and why in wearables.” We do not sell personal information to anyone. “
The European Commission declined to comment. But the commission will make a decision on the deal by August 8.