Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has been confident from the start regarding its plan to acquire Fitbit Inc. (NYSE:FIT). The company has announced a 2.2 billion acquisition of the health and fitness device maker.
Fitbit insert $250 million breakup fee if the deal with Google fails
There has been growing criticism about Google violating antitrust regulations, and there are concerns regarding its dominance on access to personal data. With the acquisition of Fitbit, the company will now have supreme access to physical health data of consumers. However, Fitbit has been worried about the deal since Google is under probe by antitrust regulators. As a result, it added a $250 million breakup fee in the event the deal is blocked for failure to receive Antitrust Approvals.
Department of Justice antitrust official Makan Delrahim indicated that it would be wrong if privacy concerns were not factored in antitrust analysis. Therefore there was a reason to be wary about the deal being the first casualty of the increasing antitrust backlash on tech companies.
Google developing an AI platform to customize patient care
This comes at the back of Google’s Project Nightingale, getting access from the largest hospital networks to nonanonymized patient records. The company is using the data to train an artificial intelligence platform to personalize patient care. In return, Ascencion, the hospital network, will receive free use of the platform that the company will sell to other health care providers.
With the Fitbit merger and Project Nightingale, it is going to be tricky for antitrust regulators to consider data collection a competition issue. Regulators have been narrowing on merger reviews regarding whether it results in a reduction in the competition, which hurts consumers. Bringing the same for data will mean asking whether a reduction in competition will result in poor privacy protection.
Google and Fitbit have, however, indicated that the troves of health data held by Fitbit would not be used in ads. However, regulators are skeptical about the assurances considering the company has violated data privacy regulations before. In 2013 Google was fined $40 million after lying how it could use data following the purchase of the DoubleClick platform.