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Google completes purchase of Fitbit

Google has completed the acquisition of Fitbit for $ 2.1 billion, the company announced today. The news followed an announcement by the EU late last year that it had approved the deal after Google made a series of commitments about its planned use of Fitbit and the use of its health data.

In a statement, Google hardware chief Rick Osterloch said the acquisition was “for devices, not data.” Emphasizing this, he reaffirmed Google’s commitment to how it will cope with the acquisition of markets around the world. These promises include not using Fitbit’s health and health data to track Google ads.

Osterloch also said the deal would not affect how third-party fitness trackers work with Android or how Fitbit works with other non-Google services.

In a statement, Fitbit CEO James Park welcomed the news and said the acquisition would allow the company to “innovate faster, provide more choice and make even better products.” However, he added that Fitbit products and services will continue to work on both iOS and Android.

“We will maintain strong protection of data privacy and security by giving you control over your data and remain transparent about what we collect and why,” Park said.

Concerns about data like this have led regulators around the world to investigate the deal. Late last year, EU regulators approved the deal, completing an investigation launched in August.

The approval came with a number of conditions, including that Google cannot use Fitbit data from users in the European Economic Area (EEA), such as GPS and health data to target ads. As part of the approval, EEA users should also be able to opt out of sharing their health and wellness data with other Google services, and Google has agreed to continue to support third-party media with Android. These commitments, including the opt-out option, will apply to Fitbit users worldwide, Google says On the edgeso that non-EEA consumers can benefit.

Google’s announcement appears to have been made before the Australian Competition and Consumers’ (ACCC) final acquisition decision. At the end of December, The guardian Google said it could risk up to $ 400 million in fines if it continued the deal without regulatory approval.

At the time, ACCC rejected Google’s proposed terms of the deal due to data concerns, as well as fears that it could force Fitbit’s competitors to exit the wearable market because they rely on Google’s Android. Although ACCC President Rod Sims acknowledged the concessions offered by Google, he expressed concern that they could not be “effectively monitored and implemented in Australia.” The Australian regulatory authority has stated that its investigation will continue before the date of a new decision on 25 March 2021.

Google declined to comment on the recording of the ongoing ACCC investigation.

The US Department of Justice also issued a statement Thursday saying it was still investigating the deal and had not reached a conclusion before Google’s announcement.

“The antitrust investigation into Google’s acquisition of Fitbit continues. Although the department has not made a final decision on whether to take enforcement action, the department continues to investigate whether Google’s acquisition of Fitbit could harm competition and consumers in the United States, the statement said. New York Times. “The department continues to be committed to conducting this review as thoroughly, efficiently and expeditiously as possible.”

Google announced its acquisition of Fitbit more than a year ago in November 2019, when Osterloh called it “an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS, as well as to introduce portable devices Made by Google.”

In a letter announcing the acquisition, Park said Fitbit has already sold more than 120 million devices in more than 100 countries.

Updated January 14, 10:13 AM ET: Added statement from the Ministry of Justice stating that the investigation into Google’s acquisition of Fitbit by Google is ongoing.

Updated January 14, 10:41 AM ET: It has been clarified that Google’s commitments to EU regulators will apply worldwide, including the option to opt out of data sharing. It also noted that Google declined to comment on the record regarding the ACCC’s ongoing investigation into the deal.

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