That’s right, Google acquires Fitbit after a lot of media scrutiny from both Fitbit & Google. Google announced on the 14th of January that it has approved and completed the acquisition of the wearable brand Fitbit.
Google’s use and collection of data have been the main concern for regulatory companies, with the ACCC first declining the acquisition as it fears Google may use Fitbit user’s health data for targeted marketing. After all, Google is known for marketing and advertising as its core process.
With such concerns, it’s no surprise that both companies Google & Fitbit, are looking to address concerns that may have arisen in the statements they had released about the ongoing acquisition.
Google immediately responded to allegations of possible data collection and usage of health data from users stating that the main reason for the acquisition is solely for the hardware components of the Fitbit and no other reasoning.
Google extended its statement by saying they have been struggling in the wearables segment of their company. The Fitbit devices will help bridge the gap in hardware they have been experiencing.
The acquisition of Fitbit by Google will add the edge that Google has lacked against Apple with its wearable & fitness segment.
The current wearables and fitness products Google puts up against Apple’s products have proven to be “uneven” or “unrivaled” as Apple dominates Google in this segment with ease.
Do they only intend to collect data?
It’s been investigated & stated that data collected by these wearables has been increasing every year significantly. With companies like Google, Fitbit & Apple constantly pushing for their devices to be taken more seriously as medical devices, has sparked more controversy.
It’s said that these three leaders in wearables and devices will only push more in the future to gain more rights in the medical and fitness segment as they have all appointed health case studies & have received FDA clearances. Not only this, but they have also gone one step further and have pushed to work with insurance companies to dominate the segment with their devices.
The 2.1 billion dollar acquisition that Google has completed comes with a heap of restrictions & regulations by the EU (EEA). When the EU (EEA) and ACCC accepted the merger, it stated that “Commitments will outline how Google can and will use data collected for ad purposes.
It will also outline the interoperability between the wearable devices and the Android platform will be safeguarded. It will finally outline how users will share health data only if they choose to”.
Along with this agreement, Google has also agreed not to use the Fitbit devices and the data collected via the devices for targeted advertisements for ten years.
This agreement can also be extended by the commission by another ten years. Google also has finally agreed as a part of the acquisition to retain third-party developer access to its Android APIs to maintain competition in the fitness & health segment.
Since the announcement of the acquisition of Fitbit, Google has been optimistic, stating on their website, “Technology can impact the way people manage their health and wellness. This is important these days. We will work closely with our consumers to provide enhanced services & devices to provide knowledge, success & health to your lives”.
Google also extended on their own website and stated that the deal “Has always been about the devices, not the data.
We will protect Fitbit users’ privacy and work with global regulators to provide an approach that will safeguard the consumers’ privacy expectations and data”.
Fitbit was founded back in 2007 and became immediately the giant in wearable fitness trackers.
While they had created a brand image on wearable fitness trackers, Fitbit had also released wearable watches but struggled to gain market dominance as the Apple Watch & Timex smartwatches succeeded in securing the market.
Eventually, Fitbit had created high-end smartwatches, but it was too late as Apple & Samsung capitalized on market share.
This acquisition makes sense from Google’s point of view as it continues even in 2021 to capitalize in the wearables & smartwatch segment. With Fitbit’s wearable hardware and Technology, Google gains valuable hardware and innovation from an established wearable technology company.
This is similar to what Google had done in 2019 with Timex, as Google acquired the watchmaking company for a hefty sum of 40 million dollars, making sure to bridge the market gap between Google’s smartwatch wearable products and Apple’s Watch products.
As shown in past market reports, Apple’s Watch product hasn’t been the biggest seller of their line up as the cost and innovation didn’t exactly weigh up for consumers but with the release of more health applications like Fitness+ and different sensors to measure all sorts of health readings, proves Apple’s serious about eliminating all threats that Google imposes with its newly acquired Fitbit company.
With the acquisition of Fitbit by Google Inc, has provided Google with the hardware necessary to produce higher quality wearable devices. With a lot of controversy and scrutiny from both sides of the deal, regulators have stepped in to control any ideologies which suggest misusage of health data collected by such devices.
Google denies any claims of the acquisition being for data but states it’s for the devices and hardware purely to compete in the wearables market. Shortly, devices made by Google for Fitbit will arrive either under the Google or Fitbit brand with “Made by Google” embroidered onto the devices.
This doesn’t currently solve the issues that Google has had in the wearables segment. Still, it seems that Google supports the ideology that if Fitbit & Google worked together, it would close or overtake wearable giants Apple, Samsung & Xiaomi in the wearable segment.
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