Google has completed the $ 2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit, the company announced today. The news follows the EU’s announcement late last year that it had approved the agreement, after Google entered into a number of commitments regarding the planned operation of Fitbit and the use of the health data.
In his announcement, Google’s hardware manager Rick Osterloh said the acquisition was about devices, not data. Emphasizing this point, he reiterated Google’s commitment to how it will handle acquisitions in markets around the world. These promises do not include the use of Fitbit users̵
Osterloh also said the agreement will not affect how third-party training trackers work with Android, or how Fitbit works with other non-Google services.
In a statement, Fitbit’s CEO James Park welcomed the news, saying the acquisition would allow the company to “innovate faster, provide more choices and create even better products.” However, he added that Fitbit’s products and services will continue to work across both iOS and Android.
“We want to maintain strong privacy and security protection, give you control over your data and keep us 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 their approval to the agreement, and completed an investigation they started in August.
The approval came with a number of conditions, including that Google may not 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 sharing their health and wellness data with other Google services, and Google has agreed to continue to support third-party devices with Android.
Google’s announcement appears to have been made before the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) final decision on the acquisition. At the end of December, Vergen reported that Google risked up to a fine of $ 400 million if it proceeded with the agreement without the regulator’s approval.
At the time, the ACCC rejected Google’s proposed terms of the deal due to computer issues, as well as fears that it could force Fitbit’s rivals out of the laptop market due to their reliance on Google’s Android. Although ACCC leader Rod Sims acknowledged the concessions Google had made, he expressed concern that they could not be “effectively monitored and enforced in Australia.” The Australian regulator said the investigation would continue, before a new decision date of March 25, 2021. We have contacted Google for more clarity on the ACCC’s pending approval.
The US Department of Justice also issued a statement on Thursday stating that it was still investigating the agreement, and that it had not reached a conclusion before Google’s announcement.
“The Antitrust Division’s investigation into Google’s acquisition of Fitbit continues. “Although the division has not reached a final decision to continue an enforcement action, the division continues to investigate whether Google’s acquisition of Fitbit could harm competition and consumers in the United States,” the statement said. New York Times. “The division remains committed to conducting this review as thoroughly, efficiently and expeditiously as possible.”
Google announced its acquisition of Fitbit over a year ago in November 2019, when Osterloh called it “an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google portable devices in the market.”
In its letter about the announcement, Park said that Fitbit has now sold more than 120 million units in over 100 countries.
Updated January 14, 10:13 AM ET: Added a statement from the Ministry of Justice indicating that the investigation into Google’s acquisition of Fitbit is ongoing.