[Update: Review by DOJ] Google officially acquires Fitbit for $2.1 billion
As was widely rumored earlier this week, Google is buying Fitbit. The company officially announced the acquisition on its blog this morning. The deal puts Fitbit under Google, not Alphabet, similar to how Nest is now organized. Google reportedly spent $2.1 billion on the fitness company.
People will immediately assume that this move is to bolster Wear OS, and it does seem like that’s the goal. Google SVP of devices and services Rick Osterloh said that the purchase is “an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market.” Google’s own fitness software is decent, but clearly behind Fitbit and Apple.
On the hardware side of things, Google has never released a smartwatch under the “Made by Google” brand. The company has worked on devices, but none of them have come to light. Fitbit has tons of experience pumping out hardware for millions of people. On both the software and hardware fronts, Fitbit has a lot to offer Google.
Of course, acquisitions shouldn’t necessarily be celebrated. Fitbit was a major player in the wearable market that wasn’t tied to one of the big tech companies. Now Apple and Google, the two big names in tech, own the most popular fitness platforms. Fitbit says it’s “health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads,” but naturally people will still be concerned.
If you’re only interested in Google products getting better, this is likely a good step for Wear OS and any Google-made wearable that comes down the line. Google has struggled immensely in this market and Fitbit could be a huge help. Only time will tell.
Update: Review by DOJ
Google and Fitbit announced a $2.1 billion acquisition early last month and not much has been said about it since then. It is now being reported that the US Department of Justice will be reviewing the acquisition for antitrust issues. Google, of course, has been under the microscope for antitrust issues in the past. The concerned organizations include Public Citizen and the Center for Digital Democracy. The FTC can also review mergers, but they did not opt to do so in this case. We weren’t going to see any of the fruits of this merger for quite some time anyway. This may just be a small hang-up or it could end up reversing the merger altogether. We will have to wait and see.