Google officially completed the acquisition of Fitbit, a month after the European Commission approved the acquisition. Google reiterates that with the deal, the company does not get hold of customer health data and only wants to sell devices.
In a statement, Google writes that it wants to develop new products and services with Fitbit that can give users more ‘knowledge, success, health and happiness’. According to Google, the privacy and security of users are crucial. The company therefore says it is committed to protecting users’ health information and giving these users control over their data.
Google reiterates that the company will not use users’ health and wellness data for advertising purposes, for which it refers to the requirements imposed by the European Commission . In addition, third parties will continue to have access to the Fitbit Web API, among other things, so that other companies can continue to offer services to users that use the health and fitness data from Fitbit devices. Collected Fitbit user data is also stored separately from other Google data. These requirements are valid for ten years and can be extended for another decade after this period.
Fitbit itself says that thanks to the acquisition, it now has the resources to innovate faster, offer more choices, and make better products. The devices will continue to work with iOS, Fitbit CEO James Park confirms. The company says it has sold 120 million devices since 2009, users have taken a total of 275 trillion steps, and Fitbit devices have recorded 15 billion hours of sleep.
Although the EU approved the deal, there are several agencies that have not yet done so. For example, New York Times journalist Cecilia Kang writes on Twitter that the US Department of Justice is still investigating the takeover. The ministry says in a statement that its competition law department has not yet been able to make a decision about whether the acquisition is bad for US competition and consumers.
The Australian ACCC watchdog is also still investigating the takeover. At the end of December, the body wrote about a proposal from Google that would resemble the requirements set by the European Commission for the acquisition. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission did not accept this proposal, saying it was still concerned that other wearables manufacturers might be marginalized by the acquisition. The ACCC wants to have a final judgment on the acquisition before March 25.
The Guardian wrote at the end of December that if Google were to take over Fitbit, it would risk a fine of up to 256.4 million euros. Google did not want to respond to The Verge about the ACCC investigation. The company does say that it has cooperated in the investigation of the US Department of Justice for the last fourteen months. In addition, the company waited until the previously agreed waiting time was over before completing the acquisition. Google says it will stay in touch with the ministry and will answer any following questions. The company announced the acquisition at the end of 2019, which involved 1.72 billion euros.