BRUSSELS, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Alphabet's Google has
tweaked concessions aimed at allaying EU antitrust concerns
about its $2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit, people
familiar with the matter said, putting it on course to secure EU
approval for the deal.
The world's most popular internet search engine last month
offered to restrict the use of Fitbit data for Google ads,
facilitate rival makers of wearables seeking to connect to the
Android platform and allow third parties' continued access to
Fitbit users' data with their consent.
Google revised the package after the European Commission
received feedback from rivals and consumers, the people said,
declining to provide details. The move could also help stave off
a possible EU charge sheet setting out specific concerns.
The EU competition enforcer has to date not sought further
feedback from the market, indicating the changes have likely
passed muster with the Commission.
The EU competition enforcer, which earlier on Friday
extended the deadline for its decision to Jan. 8 from Dec. 23 in
agreement with Google, declined to comment.
Google reiterated its previous statement, saying that the
deal was about devices and not data. Fitbit shares gained after
the Reuters story and were up 1.58% in early U.S. trade.
"The wearables space is crowded, and we believe the
combination of Google and Fitbit's hardware efforts will
increase competition in the sector, benefiting consumers and
making the next generation of devices better and more
affordable," Google said.
Concessions so far, however, have failed to appease rivals
A group of 19 bodies including consumer organisations and
privacy advocates in the EU, the United States and Brazil is
among the latest critics, issuing a joint letter on Thursday to
demand tough concessions from Google.
Fitbit, once the leader in the wearable devices market, had
a 3% share of the global wearables market as of the first
quarter of 2020, way behind Apple's 29.3% share, as
well as Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, data from market
research firm International Data Corp showed.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Jason Neely and Mark