25 January 2021
Google has announced that its deal to acquire Fitbit has finally been confirmed. The deal was first announced in November 2019 but a year later, it seems like the finalization is now done. The announcement was made by Rick Osterloh, SVP of Devices & Services at Google, and he talks about what this deal means for Google and Fitbit users.
Osterloh has emphasized that the Fitbit acquisition is about the devices and not data. He is ensuring Fitbit users have nothing to worry about their data privacy. Google will be making use of Fitbit's technologies and experience to improve its own wearable products offering. We could be seeing new devices in the near future but we will have to wait.
In respect of user data privacy, it has been said that Fitbit users' health and fitness data will not be used for Google ads and data. It will be kept separate from other Google ads and data services. It will also be up to the users whether want to keep their data with Fitbit or share it with third-party apps like Googe Fit.
While Google says the Fitbit deal is complete, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has contacted various media outlets to reveal that the deal is still under investigation. Here is the statement shared by the department:
"The Antitrust Division’s investigation of Google’s acquisition of Fitbit remains ongoing. Although the Division has not reached a final decision about whether to pursue an enforcement action, the Division continues to investigate whether Google’s acquisition of Fitbit may harm competition and consumers in the United States. The Division remains committed to conducting this review as thoroughly, efficiently, and expeditiously as possible."
Google has responded to the statement by saying that it has waited until the expiration of DOJ's waiting period that was agreed upon between the two. The waiting period was the timeline for DOJ to deliver a verdict on the deal but since it did not make an announcement, Google proceeded with the formal announcement. We will have to wait and see if the deal gets hindered in any way.