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  • Google is trying to get a foothold in the wearable tech

  • business having made a $2.1bn bid to buy the fitness tracking

  • company Fitbit.

  • For Google this would be its biggest acquisition

  • since its 2014 purchase of Nest and would also

  • give it a product to rival Apple's watch.

  • Now, Fitbit shareholders must decide

  • whether to accept the deal, which

  • places a 19 per cent premium on the company based

  • on where its shares were trading before the deal was announced.

  • But Fitbit shareholders are unlikely to be the major hurdle

  • here.

  • Even if they do accept the deal it

  • is likely to spark the interest of regulators

  • here in Washington.

  • Already, David Cicilline, the chair

  • of the House antitrust committee,

  • has said he wants an immediate and thorough investigation.

  • Now, we've seen several advocacy groups, including

  • the Electronic Privacy Information Centre and the Open

  • Markets Institute, also weigh in.

  • I wouldn't be surprised if Elizabeth Warren,

  • the Democratic presidential candidate who

  • has called to break up big tech, also gets involved soon.

  • In this environment where several agencies are already

  • investigating the market power held by large technology

  • companies, I wouldn't be surprised

  • if the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice

  • looks very carefully at this deal

  • before deciding whether it should go through.

  • But from conversations I've had with staffers in both agencies,

  • they are loath to be seen to be acting purely

  • out of political pressure.

  • It will be fascinating to see which way they

  • jump on this one.

  • Now, this week's question comes from Souvik Deb.

  • Souvik responded to my last vlog about the drone maker

  • DJI by asking: "Although understandable,

  • is it reasonable and even possible

  • for the US to scrutinise each and every Chinese company

  • doing their business in the US?

  • And what will be the political ramifications

  • since the Chinese can do the same with US companies

  • based in China?"

  • Well, Souvik, is it possible?

  • No.

  • But what US officials are doing are focusing on two main areas,

  • firstly where Chinese companies doing business in the US

  • have a lot of data on US citizens,

  • and secondly where those Chinese companies have some kind

  • of a lead over their US rivals.

  • Huawei was the classic example of both of those categories.

  • And now we're seeing similar warnings

  • being made about TikTok, the viral video sharing

  • platform owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

  • And what will be the political ramifications?

  • Well, Beijing has announced a tech blacklist

  • where it says it is willing to put US tech companies who

  • fall foul of their rules, pretty much in retaliation

  • to what the US has done.

  • But so far, their action has been relatively restrained,

  • and that is because, I believe, Beijing

  • thinks and hopes that a lot of this

  • can be resolved in some eventual trade deal.

  • We'll have to watch whether that happens.

  • Thanks very much for the comment.

  • And if you have a question which you

  • want me to answer in next week's vlog,

  • please leave it in the comments below.

Google is trying to get a foothold in the wearable tech

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Why Google’s bid for Fitbit could fail | Tech Wash

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/27
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