Google closes its Fitbit acquisition

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate & Fitness Wristband.

Source: Amazon

Alphabet-owned Google announced Thursday it’s finally completed the acquisition of Fitbit, which was first announced in November 2019.

The deal had been subject to a months-long probe into whether it could further push Google’s market position in the online advertising business if it uses Fitbit data to help personalize ads. But, while Google said the deal is closed, Reuters said the U.S. Department of Justice’s probe into the merger is still ongoing. Enforcement agencies typically have strict time windows to block mergers before they’re completed, but can still bring an enforcement action at any point.

A DOJ spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

Fitbit may help boost Google’s presence in the wearable market. While Google doesn’t build its own smartwatches or fitness trackers, it provides the software that’s used by other companies to build smartwatches. But they haven’t provided as much in-depth information for workouts, sleep and other metrics that are important to people who want to improve their health.

“This deal has always been about devices, not data, and we’ve been clear since the beginning that we will protect Fitbit users’ privacy,” Google’s Senior Vice President of devices and services Rick Osterloh said in a statement.

“We worked with global regulators on an approach which safeguards consumers’ privacy expectations, including a series of binding commitments that confirm Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be used for Google ads and this data will be separated from other Google ads data,” he added.

The company said it will still allow Fitbit users to choose to connect to third party services, so they can still connect different health and wellness apps to their Fitbit accounts.

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