Google has agreed to allow other makers of wearables to easily connect to its Android platform and its application programming interface (API) as a new condition for the European Commission’s anti-trust body’s endorsement of its planned $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit, according to Reuters. According to Bloomberg, it has also agreed to allow Fitbit users to connect with any third-party services through any application of their choice.
These two concessions add to a previous pledge to refrain from using Fitbit data for ad targeting and to improve monitoring to protect the users’ privacy. The European Commission is set to announce its verdict on the deal by Dec. 23 at the latest.
We understand that the U.S. Justice Department has not yet completed its own review of the transaction, which has been based at least in part on privacy concerns.
The European probe comes after the European Union imposed a fine of €4.3 billion on Google two years ago because of anti-competitive practices like forcing suppliers of Android smartphones to pre-install Google apps and preventing them from using rivals to Google’s search engine. The verdict led Google to give European users more choice over default search tools, while allowing the phone makers to choose alternative systems.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that Chinese and Indian anti-trust authorities are looking into other allegedly anti-comptitive practices by Google. The Chinese case is viewed as a political response to the U.S. government’s action against Huawei Technologies and TikTok. In particular, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has barred Google from providing technical support to new Huawei models and access to its Android apps. The Indian challenge concerns Google’s promotion of its own mobile payment apps.
On the other hand, most Chinese suppliers of smartphones use an open-source version of Android with alternative apps as Chinese authorities don’t permit the use of Google’s search and e-mail services, among others.
Indian authorities are looking into allegations that Google is abusing its market position to unfairly promote its mobile payments app.