credit: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
- The transaction to reach a long-term cooperation agreement with Google is now complete.
- In a press release, Google emphasized that the transaction is about “devices, not data.”
- The CEO of Fitbit also emphasized that user data will not be used for Google’s advertising revenue and assures users that many of the things they know and love will remain the same.
Update, January 14, 2021 (12:43 PM EST): The following news makes Google/Fitbit transactions look safe. However, the US Department of Justice is still investigating the acquisition. This makes people wonder whether the transaction can continue without causing more trouble.
The Ministry of Justice issued the following statement on some publications (h/t Android police):
The Antitrust Department’s investigation into Google’s acquisition of Fitbit is still ongoing. Although the department has not yet made a final decision on whether to take enforcement actions, the department is still investigating whether Google’s acquisition of Fitbit will harm American competition and consumers. The Division remains committed to conducting this review as thoroughly, effectively and promptly as possible.
However, it seems that the decision of an ongoing investigation has passed.According to the statement sent to Fitbit Android authorizationRegardless of DOJ’s formal purchase decision, the company is satisfied with today’s announcement. This is the Fitbit statement:
We have complied with the extensive review conducted by the Ministry of Justice over the past 14 months, and the agreed waiting period expired without objection. We will continue to keep in touch with them and work to answer any other questions. We believe that this transaction will increase competition in the highly crowded wearable device market, and we have promised to implement it globally.
In essence, this boils down to the time limit for the Justice Department to agree to make a decision on its antitrust investigation of the transaction. Google claims that the date has passed, so the company has the right to proceed with the purchase. The US Department of Justice said it is still investigating. Lawyers need to consider this, but it seems that the transaction was not completed as Google and Fitbit said.
Original article, January 14, 2021 (09:26 AM EST): Today, Google and Fitbit officially announced the former’s acquisition of the latter. This transaction has been going on for more than a year. It positions Fitbit as a Google company, but is independent in operation. This is the same a few years after Nest was acquired in 2014.
related: The best Fitbit tracker you can get right now
Rick Osterloh wrote the news that Google announced the deal. He emphasized in the letter that “user health data will not be used in Google ads.” He also explained that this is a binding commitment to conclude a transaction, which means it is not an empty promise.
Similarly, Fitbit CEO and co-founder James Park (James Park) wrote a similar letter detailing the transaction. In his statement, he used the exact same language as Osterloh to assure users that Google will not use people’s health data for monetary gain.
Google Fitbit deal: what does it mean?
Osterloh said in the letter that the deal was about “equipment, not data.” This may be the most important statement surrounding this acquisition. It strongly suggests that Google hopes that Fitbit will enhance its wearable hardware ambitions more than anything else.
Even if the wearable device market is booming, I have never seen a Google branded device. There have been rumors of the so-called Pixel Watch for a long time, but it never materialized. Due to the stagnation of the Wear OS platform, this Google Fitbit deal can easily solve the biggest problem of G wearables: no hardware.
related: The best fitness tracker you can get
Fitbit has brought Google Assistant to the two biggest releases of 2020: Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa3. Looking ahead, we can expect to see Assistant and other Google products on Fitbit devices.
Park clearly pointed out in the letter, “Many things you know and love about Fitbit will remain the same.” However, it is only a matter of time before Fitbit becomes more and more recognized by Google. We need to wait and see how it turns out.