Google has now got official confirmation of its acquisition of Fitbit following months of negotiations as well as some antitrust investigations. Google announced the news in a blog post by Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President, Devices & Services.
The news of this acquisition first broke way back in 2019 so almost 14 months ago. At this stage, the deal was reportedly worth around $2.1 billion.
However, the deal hit a stumbling block in 2020 as the EU investigated the acquisitions over data and antitrust issues. Google vowed not to use data gained from Fitbit devices in its targeted advertising that appear to placate some of the concerns.
Eventually, after some concessions from Google, the deal gained approval from the EU. However, many have pointed out that Google is unlikely to be held to account on these concessions and could well get away with disregarding many of them.
Despite this, Australian regulators appear to have issued a fine against the company due to the deal. The reported fine of $400 million from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) came after the regulator rejected Google’s offer to enter into a court-enforceable undertaking.
This fine will not come into force until a final decision is made on the 25 March. In the meantime, the regulator will continue to investigate.
As a result, it seems like a long road to get this point in the deal. Google and Fitbit will be very happy to see all stumbling blocks seemingly negotiated so they can move on with their business.
Google officially acquires Fitbit
Osterloh described Fitbit as a "pioneer in the industry" which "has helped people around the world live healthier, more active lives". He pointed to Fitbit's newest watch Fitbit Sense and its features which include stress management tools and an ECG app to demonstrate his admiration for the company.
This official acquisition of Fitbit by Google potentially marks an exciting new partnership in the industry. Osterloh said the companies would "work closely to create new devices and services that help you enhance your knowledge, success, health and happiness".
He also made it clear that "this deal has always been about devices, not data". He reiterated Google's commitment to protecting the privacy of Fitbit users. Google has worked with global regulators to create binding agreements regarding user privacy.
Osterloh believes that this partnership "can make health and wellness more accessible". He believes the partnership between Fitbits technology and Google's AI will make this happen.
After such a long road it is nice to see this deal finally get over the line. It will be interesting to see what new innovations arise as a result of this partnership. We will have to keep a close eye on the companies to see over the coming months and years.