san francisco In January 2021, Google completed the $2.1 billion acquisition of fitness specialist Fitbit. The company has now announced that a Google account will be required in future to use the fitness equipment. This step could cause problems in Germany.
After its purchase of the VR glasses company Oculus, the Facebook group also made Facebook accounts mandatory for the use of the devices. As a result, the Federal Cartel Office initiated abuse proceedings.
Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt had argued: “This link between virtual reality products and the group’s social network could represent a prohibited abuse of a dominant position by Facebook.”
Facebook then announced that it would stop selling its Oculus glasses in Germany. The cartel office’s proceedings have not yet been completed.
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A spokesman for the Federal Cartel Office left open on request whether the Federal Cartel Office could also start proceedings against Google for the account requirement for Fitbit devices. “At this time we are not conducting any proceedings in this regard,” the spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for Google did not comment on possible consequences on the market in Germany. In general, she emphasized that health data is not used for advertising purposes: “If a user signs up for a Google Account or switches to a Google Account, we will continue to collect Fitbit users’ health and wellness data from data for Google Ads.” keep separate and this data will not be used for Google Ads.”
Starting next year, it will be possible to combine a Google account with Fitbit devices. Pure Fitbit accounts should then gradually be phased out and in future only use via a Google account will be possible. Fitbit offers smart watches and fitness trackers in Germany.
The situation could change in the future, at least for the VR glasses from the Facebook group. In July, the company announced that it wanted to lift the requirement for a Facebook account.
The VR glasses from the Facebook group dominate the global business. According to calculations by the market research company Counterpoint Research, Meta claimed a total of 80 percent of the global market for VR glasses in the fourth quarter of 2021. Next Tuesday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wants to present the next generation of VR glasses.
Fitbit is just one of many providers in the smartwatch sector. Apple is by far the biggest player. According to data from the market researcher, Apple sold about as many smartphones last year as all other manufacturers combined.
More: Oculus glasses could soon also be available in Germany – because Facebook is giving in.