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

53 分類 收藏
林宜悉 發佈於 2020 年 3 月 28 日
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