It took a while to get here but Google has finally completed its acquisition of fitness wearables company Fitbit. The deal has been valued at $2.1 billion and follows the announcement late last year of the approval from the European Commission. Google has made some commitments to the EU regarding the planned operation and use of health data from existing and future customers. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division says they are still continuing the investigation into the acquisition and have not given the final okay.
In their official announcement, Google’s Senior Vice President for Devices and Services, Rick Osterloh, announced that the acquisition has been completed and that they are welcoming the team to Google. He also emphasized the same song that they have been singing, that the deal is “about devices, not data”. In order to get the EU approval, Google had to pledge to not use the health and wellness data from Fitbit users for their ad tracking services.
Other conditions that came with the approval include not using Fitbit data from users in the European Economic Area like GPS and health data. Users worldwide can also opt-out of sharing their data with other Google services. The acquisition will also not affect support for other third-party wearables with Android and how Fitbit devices will work with other non-Google services. Fitbit CEO James Park commits to “maintain strong data privacy and security protections” for its users.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice released a statement saying they are still continuing in their investigation of the deal. They have not yet reached a final decision whether or not to pursue enforcement action but they will continue with the review. This means the acquisition has gone through apparently without the final okay of the Antitrust Commission so it remains to be seen if this will affect the legality of the deal.
Google said it finalized its Fitbit acquisition. But @JusticeATR says they didn't give them the ok. “The Antitrust Division’s investigation of Google’s acquisition of Fitbit remains ongoing. /1
— Leah AntiTrustButVer1fy Nylen (@leah_nylen) January 14, 2021
Google is going full blast with the announcement though as the Google Store pages have now been updated with a prominent banner saying, “Fitbit, welcome to the Google family.” The link will then take you to the main product page where you can find all the smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart scales, and additional bands and accessories.