What Google’s Acquisition of Fitbit Could Mean for Your Personal Data

Google is buying wearable device maker Fitbit for $2.1 billion in cash, a bold move by Internet giants to boost its capabilities in the emerging wearable technology market, even as the company faces strict regulatory scrutiny of its large personal data. .

Google’s price of $7.35 per share was more than 70% higher than the price of Fitbit’s shares earlier this week, and there was news of a deal negotiation.

The reason for the acquisition is simple: Google wants to gain a foothold in the wearables industry, which dominates Apple Watch and Fitbit’s devices. Although Google was one of the first companies to recognize the potential of wearable technology, it failed to develop a bestseller.

At the same time, Apple’s wearables, home and accessories business unit, including its Apple Watch and AirPods, reported a 54% increase in revenue in the most recent quarter, with sales of $6.5 billion.

Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of Google’s device and services, said in a blog post that announced that “Over the years, Google has made progress in this area with partners through Wear OS and Google Fit.” But we saw an opportunity to invest more in Wear OS and bring Google-made wearables to market.”

It’s unclear whether Google intends to retain Fitbit’s current products and brands, or whether it plans to use the technology it will acquire to create a new line of Google smart watches and other devices. Fitbit said in a press release that it will continue to maintain “platform agnosticism” on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms.

Fitbit said the transaction is expected to be completed by 2020 and is subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions.

It can be tricky for regulators to bless the deal. Google’s business practices have been investigated by the US Department of Justice and 50 state attorneys. The company, as well as Facebook and Amazon, are strongly opposed by politics and consumers in dealing with consumer personal data.

Because the device tracks the wearer’s sleep habits, heart rate and other personal information, it is particularly sensitive to Fitbit acquisition.

Osterloh vows that Google will not “sell personal information to anyone” and that Fitbit’s health data will not be used for Google ads.

Osterloh wrote: “We will provide Fitbit users with the option to view, move or delete their data.”

Fitbit has sold more than 100 million devices, a range of smart watches and fashion event trackers, priced between $100 and $200.

Despite this, the company’s business is still struggling in recent years. Fitbit’s revenue in 2018 was $1.5 billion, down 6% from the previous year, and the company’s net loss was $186 million.

Fitbit’s share price has been in a relatively stable decline for many years. The company went public in June 2015; by February 2016, its trading price was only half of its IPO value. The current share price represents another major decline, and its latest wearable devices have failed to take off as quickly as previous devices.

Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park sees Google’s acquisition as a means of expanding Fitbit coverage.

He said: “Google is the ideal partner to advance our mission.” “With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearable device category, scale faster and make health easier for everyone. “”