Google has completed its $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 deal, after Google made a series of commitments about its planned operation of Fitbit and use of the its health data.
In its announcement, 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.
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.
Google’s announcement appears to have been made prior to the Australia’s Competition & Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) final decision on the acquisition. In late December, The Guardian reported that Google risked a $400 million fine if it proceeded with the deal without the regulator’s approval.
At the time, the ACCC rejected Google’s proposed conditions for the deal over data concerns as well as fears that it could force Fitbit’s rivals out of the wearables market because of their reliance on Google’s Android. Although ACCC Chair Rod Sims acknowledged the concessions Google had offered, he expressed concerns that they could not be “effectively monitored and enforced in Australia.” The Australian regulator said its investigation would continue, ahead of a new decision date of March 25th, 2021. We’ve reached out to Google for more clarity on the ACCC’s pending approval.
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 wearable devices into the market.”
In his letter announcing the acquisition, Park said Fitbit has now sold more than 120 million devices across over 100 countries.