Following more than a a year of regulatory scrutiny, Google said Thursday that it has officially closed its $2.1 billion purchase of fitness tracker pioneer Fitbit.
The Internet giant first announced the deal in November 2019. At the time, both companies promised to maintain Fitbit's approach to user privacy and security, including its data collection practices, and vowed never to use Fitbit health data for Google ads.
Google is reiterating that message now that the deal is done. In a blog post, Google said its interest in Fitbit "has always been about devices, not data", and that it remains committed to protecting Fitbit users' privacy.
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. We'll also maintain access to Android APIs that enable devices like fitness trackers and smart watches to interoperate with Android smartphones, and we'll continue to allow Fitbit users to choose to connect to third-party services so you'll still be able to sync your favorite health and fitness apps to your Fitbit account. These commitments will be implemented globally so that all consumers can benefit from them. We'll also continue to work with regulators around the world so that they can be assured that we are living up to these commitments.
Beyond devices and a wealth of health data assets, the deal also gives Google ownership of Fitbit's enterprise health business. Despite its consistent downplaying of the data and enterprise side of the deal, the combination of Google's cloud, AI and machine learning services with Fitbit's enterprise platform gives Google a larger foothold in the healthcare market.
Nonetheless, Google doubled down on its hardware focus in its blog post Thursday, noting that the combination of AI, software and Fitbit hardware "will drive more competition in wearables and make the next generation of devices better and more affordable."
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