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Google's $2.1 billion Fitbit acquisition wins conditional EU approval

It comes after the European Commission investigated the search giant's promise not to use health data for targeting ads.

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Google is getting closer to acquiring Fitbit.
Lexy Savvides/CNET

Google's $2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit earned the EU's conditional approval, the Competition Commission said Thursday. It follows the Commission's investigation into the company's promise not to use Fitbit users' health data for targeted ads.

Under the Commission's conditions, the search giant can't use the data of EU Fitbit users for advertising, it must maintain a technical separation between Fitbit and Google data, and make sure EU users have a clear choice about using health data for other Google services.

"We can approve the proposed acquisition of Fitbit by Google because the commitments will ensure that the market for wearables and the nascent digital health space will remain open and competitive," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

"The commitments will determine how Google can use the data collected for ad purposes, how interoperability between competing wearables and Android will be safeguarded and how users can continue to share health and fitness data, if they choose to."

Google announced the Fitbit acquisition in November 2019 to give it a competitive edge against Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi in device sales, by expanding beyond phones to offer fitness trackers and smartwatches. In October, rival wearable makers reportedly raised concerns that Google's promises on using Fitbit's data for advertising don't go far enough.