Australia’s consumer watchdog has flagged Google’s recent acquisition of wearable technology company Fitbit.
The $3 billion acquisition was announced in November 2019 following months of speculation.
Although Google has publically said it will not use any of the personal information recorded on Fitbits for ads, the ACCC is still concerned the acquisition could bring unwanted consequences.
“Our concerns are that Google buying Fitbit will allow Google to build an even more comprehensive set of user data, further cementing its position and raising barriers to entry to potential rivals,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
“The ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry found that Google’s substantial market power is built on its concentration of search and location data, and data collected via third-party websites and apps.”
Sims pointed to Google’s previous acquisitions – which have included YouTube, DoubleClick and Waze – as a cause for concern.
“Past acquisitions by Google, of both start-ups and mature companies like Fitbit, have further entrenched Google’s position. The access to user data available to Google has made it so valuable to advertisers that it faces only limited competition,” Sims said.
The ACCC has shared a statement of issues paper on the proposed acquisition, which will seek feedback on whether or not the deal will impact prices of wearables and the impact of Google’s increased access to data.
There are also some clouds over the deal overseas.
Earlier this week, Google formally notified the European Commission of the acquisition.
The European regulator now has until July 20 to decide whether or not the deal should go ahead.
The Commission can now either clear the deal with or without concessions, or it can open a four-month investigation if it has serious concerns, according to Reuters.
Last year the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry identified Facebook and Google’s past acquisitions as a key contributor to their success.
As a result the ACCC recommended these digital platforms provide the ACCC with advanced notice of such acquisitions.
Commenting on the Google/Fitbit acquisition, Sims said the ACCC was completing its due diligence.
“Our position is where there is uncertainty, especially surrounding such important markets, the ACCC must thoroughly investigate the potential for an acquisition to stymie future competition,” he said.
“As a competition regulator it is our job to weigh carefully the potential issues concerning data and advertising that may follow transactions such as these.
“We will work very closely with other competition authorities in other jurisdictions that are also reviewing this transaction.”
A Google spokesperson reaffirmed the company’s stance on the use of Fitbit health data to B&T.
“Throughout this process we have been clear about our commitment not to use Fitbit health and wellness data for Google ads and our responsibility to provide people with choice and control with their data. Similar to our other products, with wearables, we will be transparent about the data we collect and why. And we do not sell personal information to anyone,” the spokesperson said.
Advertising has a rich history of being daring. From DDB’s 1960 Lemon ad for Volkswagen, to Salvador Dali designing Chupa Chup’s logo in 1969, to Droga5 pretending it was making a new Crocodile Dundee movie for Tourism Australia, the creative we crave dare to stand out! So, tomorrow B&T has teamed-up with our good friends […]
One of Australia’s largest groups of privately-owned public relations and marketing agencies has rebranded under one name, The Recognition Group. The group is comprised of three separate agencies: Recognition PR; Outsource and Write Away Communication. The Recognition Group is owned by Liz Marchant [feature image] and Adam Benson, employs 31 full-time staff members and supports […]
Premium mixer brand Fever-Tree has launched its largest advertising campaign in Australia to date via indie agency New Colony. With summer on the horizon, Fever-Tree’s latest campaign encourages consumers to ‘mix with the best’ with new messaging that reinforces its brand promise as a premium, high quality mixer complementing light and dark spirits. The out-of-home […]
Frameplay today announced its first global integration with Magnite to provide advertisers with the ability to buy intrinsic in-game advertising programmatically. The combination of Frameplay’s software developed for in-game advertising and Magnite’s scale and experience in programmatic technology across any format and screen provides advertisers with greater access to engaged audiences. Current RTB programmatic capabilities […]