Reuters: Exclusive: Google can ward off EU antitrust probe into Fitbit deal with data pledge – sources. “Google may be able to stave off a full-scale EU antitrust investigation into its planned $2.1 billion bid for fitness tracker maker Fitbit (FIT.N) by pledging not to use Fitbit’s health data for its ads, people familiar with the matter said.”
The Register: Consumer orgs ask world’s competition watchdogs: Are you really going to let Google walk off with all Fitbit’s data?. “Twenty consumer and citizen rights groups have published an open letter [PDF] urging regulators to pay closer attention to Google parent Alphabet’s planned acquisition of Fitbit.”
The Star: Google acquires Kitchener-Waterloo-based smart glasses company North. “Google has acquired Kitchener-Waterloo-based smart glasses maker North. The company formerly known as Thalmic Labs announced the sale on its website, but neither company disclosed the value or terms of the deal and in an email Google Canada spokesperson Molly Morgan refused to offer specifics.”
TechCrunch: Mapillary, the crowdsourced database of street-level imagery, has been acquired by Facebook. “Mapillary, the Swedish startup that wants to take on Google and others in mapping the world via a crowdsourced database of street-level imagery, has been acquired by Facebook, according to the company’s blog. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed.” Ugh.
Reuters: EU antitrust regulators set July 20 deadline for Google, Fitbit deal. “EU antitrust regulators will decide by July 20 whether to clear Alphabet Inc-owned Google’s $2.1 billion bid for fitness trackers company Fitbit, a deal that has prompted concerns from consumer groups and privacy advocates. Google sought EU approval on Monday, according to a filing on the European Commission website.”
CNN: Facebook hit by antitrust scrutiny after buying a site for GIFs. “The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority announced Friday it was looking into whether Facebook’s recent acquisition of Giphy ‘may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.'”
CNN: Facebook is buying popular GIF platform Giphy. “One of Facebook’s biggest acquisitions in recent memory is for a service commonly used to find GIFs of adorable puppies, Real Housewives and literal dumpster fires with broad metaphorical potential.”
9to5 Mac: Apple should acquire DuckDuckGo to put pressure on Google Search, analyst argues. “One analyst has a suggestion for how Apple could put pressure on Google: acquire DuckDuckGo. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi says that an acquisition of privacy-focused DuckDuckGo would allow Apple to put pressure on Google and tap into lucrative advertising revenue.” ick.
CNET: Zoom eyes security boost, acquiring secure messaging platform Keybase. “In an effort to shore things up after a string of security issues, video conferencing platform Zoom has acquired secure messaging service Keybase.”
NBC News: Warren, Ocasio-Cortez propose halt to big mergers during coronavirus pandemic. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., are teaming up on a proposal to halt mergers and acquisitions for large companies during the coronavirus pandemic, elevating a progressive cause as Democrats and apparent nominee Joe Biden craft the party’s platform ahead of the 2020 election.”
The Verge: Facebook is shutting down MSQRD, the AR selfie app it acquired in 2016. “On April 13th, Facebook will remove the MSQRD app from both the Android and iOS app stores. Facebook purchased MSQRD in 2016, and the AR app played a key role in boosting Facebook’s internal portfolio of AR image and video tools.”
CurveMag: Curvemag. com To Become Largest Global LGBTQI Media Offering For Women In 2020. “Todays Merger with Australia’s largest lesbian magazine will make 30-year-old Curve Magazine the world’s largest outlet of its kind… Due to the merger, the print production of both titles will be suspended to focus on digital offerings and to re-examine readers’ demands for a physical magazine. LOTL and CURVE will be made available in a 30-year digital magazine archive, free of charge, hosted on curvemag.com.” The archive is supposed to launch this month.
Reuters: EU privacy body warns of privacy risks in Google, Fitbit deal . “Alphabet Inc-owned Google’s $2.1 billion bid for fitness trackers company Fitbit could pose privacy risks, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) warned on Thursday, adding its voice to other critics of the deal.”
Reuters: Google seals takeover of Looker after UK green light . “Alphabet Inc-owned Google (GOOGL.O) said on Thursday it has completed its $2.6 billion buyout of privately held big-data analytics firm Looker Data Sciences after winning clearance from Britain’s competition watchdog.”
CNET: FTC orders Apple, Google, other tech giants to hand over acquisition info. “The US Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday that it sent special orders to five tech giants — Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft — requiring them to turn over detailed information about past acquisitions. The FTC said it’ll review the information to ‘examine trends in acquisitions,’ including how firms report transactions and whether companies are making potentially anticompetitive moves.”