Google Finally Gets Fitbit Deal Over The Line
Following a 12-month battle with regulators Google has finally completed its $2.1 billion acquisition of wearable device maker Fitbit.
The deal had triggered concerns over Google’s market power with the big search Company having to make several concessions to get the deal over the line.
The approval came with a number of conditions, including that Google cannot use Fitbit data from users in the European Economic Area (EEA) such as GPS and health data for ad targeting.
As part of the approval, EEA users must also be able to opt-out of having their health and wellness data shared with other Google services, and Google has agreed to continue to support third-party wearables with Android. Those commitments, including the option to opt out, will apply to Fitbit users worldwide, Google tells The Verge, so that users outside the EEA can take advantage.
Google’s hardware chief Rick Osterloh said the acquisition was “about devices, not data.” Emphasizing this point, he reiterated Google’s commitments about how it will handle the acquisition in markets around the world. These pledges include not using Fitbit users’ health and wellness data for Google’s ad tracking.
Osterloh also said the deal won’t affect how third-party fitness trackers work with Android, or how Fitbit works with other non-Google services.
In a statement, Fitbit’s CEO James Park welcomed the news, and said the acquisition would let the company “innovate faster, provide more choices, and make even better products.” However, he added emphasized that Fitbit’s products and services would continue to work across both iOS and Android.
“We will maintain strong data privacy and security protections, giving you control of your data and staying transparent about what we collect and why,” Park said.
It was data concerns like these that have prompted regulators around the world to investigate the deal. Late last year, EU regulators gave the deal their approval, completing an investigation they began back in August.