Last year, Google had acquired Fitbit, a health and wellness-focused wearable device maker. Now, more than a year after the announcement of the deal, the European Union has finally given its approval, but with some catches.
The EU said that there are some horizontal overlaps where Google could abuse its power. For the deal to go through, Google has agreed to certain conditions, which mostly revolve around the company’s data and support of Android for rival devices.
The tech giant has already agreed to keep health data from Fitbit and other wearables separate from its advertising business. It will also let European Economic Area users deny access to their health data for other Google services, such as Maps and Assistant. It has also agreed to maintain free access to health and fitness data through Fitbit’s web API.
Further, the company will have to keep offering a free license to device markets for the software tools needed for wearable devices to operate with Andriod phones, including Google Mobile Services and other frameworks. Also, the terms agreed include that the company can’t degrade the experience for the third-party wearables or ‘cheat’ on its commitments.
However, there’s a term limit for these conditions. Google will have to comply with these terms for 10 years but there’s a possibility of renewal for the ad restrictions if there’s a “necessity.”
With Google getting approval from the EU, it can move forward with the acquisition of Fitbit but to close the deal, the company also needs approval from the United States. This may be a bit tricky given that the company has is facing three antitrust lawsuits from the US government, two of which came this week.