Google buys Fitbit: $2.1bn and a user data promise

Eric Abent - Nov 1, 2019, 9:10 am CDT
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Google buys Fitbit: $2.1bn and a user data promise

Last week, rumors of a potential Google acquisition of Fitbit started making the rounds. Google and Fitbit wasted little time in confirming those rumors, announcing today that an agreement for a merger has been reached. Assuming Fitbit’s shareholders and the appropriate government regulators approve the deal, Google will purchase Fitbit for a total of $2.1 billion ($7.35 per share in cash).

Though the deal isn’t expected to be completed until sometime in 2020, Google and Fitbit are already answering questions about what this means for Fitbit users. In its announcement today, Fitbit said that its devices will continue to be platform agnostic across iOS and Google, so those using an iPhone don’t need to worry about their Fitbit wearables suddenly becoming incompatible with their Apple-made hardware.

Fitbit also said that it will continue to operate within “strong privacy and security guidelines,” noting that health and wellness data gathered from Fitbit devices won’t be used for Google ads. In a separate blog post, Google’s Rick Osterloh expands on that a bit, promising transparency about what kind of data is collected and why.

He also reiterated that Fitbit data won’t be used for Google ads and said that the company won’t sell personal information to third-parties. Finally, Fitbit users will have certain controls over their data, with the ability to review or delete it from Google’s servers.

In yet another blog post, Google’s Sameer Samat indicated that this Fitbit acquisition will mean big things for the continued build out of Wear OS. Though Samat spoke in rather broad terms, he did say that Google is “looking forward to collaborating with Fitbit to bring the best of our smartwatch platforms and health applications together, and enabling our partners to build the next generation of wearables.”

So, we’ll see what happens from here, but it’s clear that big things are in store for Wear OS once this acquisition is complete. Given the regulatory processes acquisitions like this typically need to go through, it’ll be a little while before Fitbit officially joins the fold, but Google will probably waste little time in launching new Fitbit-branded wearables that put Wear OS front and center once the buyout is in the books. Stay tuned.


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