Politico Morning Tech: Facebook, Google’s quintet of antitrust suits

December 18, 2020 Media

LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST: WHAT ABOUT GOOGLE-FITBIT? — In remarks Thursday about the Google case, several attorneys general emphasized two major concerns: that the search giant collects a lot of personal data, and that Google is using its power in the search and advertising markets to affect emerging technologies. Those comments came hours after the European Commission said it would let Google move forward with its Fitbit purchase after the tech giant pledged not to use health data for ads and to keep letting other wearables makers use Wear OS, Google’s version of Android for smartwatches. Google said the deal will “spur innovation” and lead to new products that will “help people lead healthier lives.”

— Lina Khan, of Columbia Law School by way of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommitteeand the FTC, called it a “terrible decision.” “Enforcers spent the last two decades waiving through hundreds of acquisitions by Google, only to watch it illegally renege on commitments, exclude rivals, & monopolize markets,” said Khan, herself a possible Biden pick for FTC. “Apparently EC has not learned from those mistakes.”

Meanwhile, in the U.S. and beyond: Weiser told Leah that the U.S. review of Google-Fitbit remains “ongoing” on a separate track from the other Google cases. Australia is also pondering whether to accept proposed conditions on the deal