The deadline for Europe to make a name on the Google -Fitbit merger has been pushed out once more — with EU regulators now having till January 8, 2021, to take a choice.
The most recent change to the provisional deadline, noticed earlier by Reuters, might be the results of one of many events asking for extra time.
Last month the deadline for a choice was prolonged till December 23 — doubtlessly pushing the choice out past a yr after Google introduced its intention to purchase Fitbit, again in November 2019. So if the tech large hoped for a easy and swift regulatory rubberstamping its hopes have been diminishing since August when the Fee introduced it was going to dig into the element. Once bitten and all that.
Google featured prominently in a report by the Home Judiciary Committee on huge tech antitrust issues earlier this month, with US lawmakers recommending a spread of cures — together with breaking apart platform giants.
European lawmakers are additionally within the means of drawing up new rules to regulate so-called ‘gatekeeper’ platforms — which might almost certainly apply to Google. A legislative proposal on that’s anticipated earlier than the top of this yr, which implies it could seem earlier than EU regulators have taken a choice on the Google-Fitbit deal. (And one imagines Google isn’t precisely stoked about that chance.)
The tech large has responded by providing a number of pledges to try to convince regulators — saying it could not use Fitbit well being and wellness information for advertisements and providing to have information separation necessities monitored. It has additionally mentioned it could commit to take care of third events’/rivals’ entry to its Android ecosystem and Fitbit’s APIs.
Nevertheless rival wearable makers have continued to criticize the proposed merger. And, earlier this week, shopper safety and human rights teams issued a joint letter — urging regulators to solely approve the takeover if “merger cures can successfully stop [competition and privacy] harms within the quick and long run”.
One factor is obvious: With antitrust issues now writ massive in opposition to ‘huge tech’ the period of ‘friction-free’ acquisitions appears to be behind Google et al.