Google completes Fitbit acquisition after months-long probe

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Alphabet’s Google has closed its acquisition of Fitbit. The company made the announcement in a blog post, singing the praises of Fitbit in the process. Google initially announced plans to acquire Fitbit in November 2019, but the two companies faced a months-long investigation that slowed the process.

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Google announces completion of Fitbit acquisition

In the blog post, Senior Vice President Rick Osterloh noted that Fitbit has been helping "people around the world live healthier, more active lives" for more than 10 years. The executive called Fitbit "a clear pioneer in the industry," adding that it "built a vibrant community of more than 20 million active users by creating amazing wearable devices and immersive wellness experiences."

He also highlighted the Fitbit Sense, the company's newest and most advanced fitness-focused smartwatch. The smartwatch provides tools for managing stress and new ways to manage heart health, including an ECG app to look for atrial fibrillation.

Fitbit's Inspire 2 offers a new design and features like Active Zone Minutes. The company's app also now includes a new Health Metrics dashboard, which allows users to track and see changes in heart rate variability, breathing rate and oxygen saturation.

Investigation concluded

CNBC noted that the transaction faced pushback from regulators concerned about whether it would further bolster Google's position in the online ad business by using Fitbit data to personalize ads. The wearable maker will increase Google's place in the wearable market. Google doesn't build its own fitness trackers or smartwatches, although it provides the software used in such devices.

In his blog post, Osterloh addressed the investigation without specifically mentioning it. He said the Fitbit acquisition has "always been about devices, not data," adding that it will protect Fitbit users' privacy. Osterloh also said Google worked with global regulators on ways to ensure that consumers' privacy expectations are met.

The company developed a series of binding commitments that confirm it won't use Fitbit users' health and wellness data to target them with ads. Google pledged to separate it from the other data that is used for ad targeting. Osterloh also said they would "maintain access to Android APIs that enable devices like fitness trackers and smart watches to interoperate with Android smartphones." Additionally, Google will keep allowing Fitbit users to connect to third-party services to sync their health and fitness apps to their Fitbit account.