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 number of commitments about its planned operation of Fitbit and the use of its health data.
In his announcement, Google’s chief hardware officer Rick Osterloh said the acquisition was “about devices, not data.” He stressed this point and reiterated Google’s commitment on how it will handle the acquisition 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 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, saying the acquisition would allow the company to “innovate faster, provide more choices and make even better products.” However, he added that Fitbit’s products and services would continue to work on both iOS and Android.
“We maintain strong data protection and security protections, giving you control over your data and staying transparent about what we collect and why,” Park said.
It was data issues like these that have prompted regulators around the world to investigate the deal. Late last year, EU regulators gave the agreement their approval and completed an investigation which they started back 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 wearables with Android. These obligations, including the opt-out option, apply to Fitbit users worldwide, Google says The edge, so that users outside the EEA can benefit.
Google’s announcement appears to have been made before the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) final decision on the acquisition. At the end of December The Guardian reported that Google risked a $ 400 million fine if it continued with the deal without the regulator’s approval.
At the time, the ACCC rejected Google’s proposed terms for dealing with data issues as well as fears it could force Fitbit’s rivals out of the laptop market due to their reliance on Google’s Android. Although ACCC President Rod Sims acknowledged the concessions offered by Google, he expressed concern 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 25 March 2021.
Google declined to comment on the record regarding the ACCC’s ongoing investigation.
The U.S. Department of Justice also released a statement on Thursday examining the deal and that it had not reached a conclusion before Google’s announcement.
“The antitrust department’s investigation into Google’s acquisition of Fitbit continues. “Although the division has not reached a final decision on whether to pursue 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 to the market.”
In its letter announcing the acquisition, Park said Fitbit has now sold more than 120 million units in over 100 countries.
Updated January 14, 10:13 AM ET: Added statement from the Department of Justice that its investigation into Google’s acquisition of Fitbit is ongoing.
Updated January 14, 10:41 AM ET: Clarified that Google’s obligations to EU regulators will apply worldwide, including the possibility to opt out of data sharing. Also noted that Google declined to comment on the record regarding the ACCC’s ongoing investigation into the agreement.