Google snaps up Fitbit for US$2.1bn, users to retain control of data

Google has acquired Fitbit for approximately US$2.1 billion, 12 years after the latter was founded. The transaction is expected to close next year, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Fitbit’s stockholders and regulatory approvals.

According to Fitbit, strong privacy and security guidelines have been part of its DNA since its founding and “this will not change”. Fitbit said it will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why.

The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.

Fitbit produces wearable technology devices and aims to deliver innovative, affordable, and engaging devices and services. It tracks activities such as swimming and running, and records sleep patterns and heart rates. Among the types of data it asks from users include date of birth, gender, height, and weight. Fitbit is also used to keep track of what consumers eat and how much water they consume.

According to the press statement, it aims to be more than just a device by delivering an immersive experience from the wrist to the app, designed to help users understand and change their behaviour to improve their health. Fitbit has sold over 100 million devices and supports an engaged global community of millions of active users, utilising data to deliver unique personalized guidance and coaching to its users. Marketing has reached out to Google and Fitbit for comment.

James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit, said Google is an ideal partner to advance its mission. “With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone. I could not be more excited for what lies ahead,” he added.

Meanwhile, Rick Osterloh, senior vice president, devices and services at Google said Fitbit has been “a true pioneer” in the industry and has created “terrific products, experiences, and a vibrant community of users”. “We’re looking forward to working with the incredible talent at Fitbit, and bringing together the best hardware, software and AI, to build wearables to help even more people around the world,” he added.

Two years ago, Fitbit bought smartwatch maker Pebble for about US$23 million to help boost its position in the wearable technology market, and go up against competitors such as Apple Watch.

(Read also: HPB activates partnership with Fitbit to push ‘Live Healthy SG’)

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