The European Commission’s Approval of Google / Fitbit – A Case Note and Comment
CONCURRENCES COMPETITION LAW REVIEW Nr. 3-2021 (section: Chroniques Concentrations), August 2021 (https://www.concurrences.com)
9 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2021
Date Written: July 25, 2021
The note summarizes and comments on the European Commission's decision to approve Google's acquisition of Fitbit, a maker of fitness trackers and smartwatches. The Commission approved the deal in December 2020, but made long-lasting behavioural remedies binding on Google.
The case constitutes only the second time an acquisition by GAFAM has triggered an intervention by the Commission (in 2016, the Commission cleared Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn with remedies). Yet, in a sign of just how much the views regarding acquisitions by Big Tech have changed, many observers greeted the Commission’s decision with disappointment. Market participants, privacy advocates and many scholars had been vocal in opposing the deal. They had warned of dire consequences for competition and privacy.
The case raises interesting questions relating to the role of privacy in EU merger control and the effectiveness of long-lasting behavioural remedies in fast-moving digital markets.
Keywords: antitrust, competition law, merger control
JEL Classification: K21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation