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Google completes $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit

Google has today completed its acquisition of Fitbit, first announced in November 2019 with a price tag of $2.1 billion.

It comes after the European Commission announced its approval of the acquisition late last month, with the condition that the search engine giant would not use Fitbit health data to target ads to users in the European Union. 

Fitbit CEO James Park says the acquisition means his company can do ‘even more’ to deliver quality devices.

“We’ll be able to innovate faster, provide more choices, and make even better products to support your health and wellness needs,” says Park.

“With access to Google’s incredible resources, knowledge and global platform, the possibilities are truly limitless.”

Addressing the concern that the acquisition could affect users’ data privacy, Park says the trust of Fitbit’s users ‘continue[s] to be paramount’.

“We will maintain strong data privacy and security protections, giving you control of your data and staying transparent about what we collect and why,” continues Park. 

“Google will continue to protect Fitbit users’ privacy and has made a series of binding commitments with global regulators, confirming that Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be used for Google ads and this data will be kept separate from other Google ad data."

Park says Google also affirmed that it would continue to allow Fitbit users to choose to connect to third party services.

These privacy concerns were the issue at the heart of enquiries from regulators around the world into the acquisition. The EU gave approval for the move only after Google agreed to a number of conditions, including allowing users in the European Economic Area (EEA) to opt-out of having their data shared with other Google services, according to the Verge. 

Speaking directly to users in a statement announcing the completion of the acquisition, Google senior vice president for devices and services Rick Osterloh says these commitments will be implemented globally, “so all consumers can benefit from them.”

Osterloh wrote: “Your privacy and security are paramount to achieving this and we are committed to protecting your health information and putting you in control of your data.

“This deal has always been about devices, not data, and we’ve been clear since the beginning that we will protect 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.”

Osterloh says Google will continue to work with regulators around the world so that they can be assured that the search giant is living up to its commitments.