Google has announced a definitive deal to acquire Fitbit, a leading maker of wearable devices.
The deal, valued at $2.1 billion, will help Google compete more aggressively with Apple in the battle over the wearable space. Wearables have increasingly become an important market for tech companies, with Apple’s record-breaking Q4 due, in no small part, to the Apple Watch. While Google has been competing in the space via their Wear OS platform, being in control of the hardware and software will give them greater freedom and flexibility.
“Over the years, Google has made progress with partners in this space with Wear OS and Google Fit, but we see an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market,” wrote Rick Osterloh Senior Vice President, Devices & Services, in the announcement. “Fitbit has been a true pioneer in the industry and has created engaging products, experiences and a vibrant community of users. By working closely with Fitbit’s team of experts, and bringing together the best AI, software and hardware, we can help spur innovation in wearables and build products to benefit even more people around the world.”
At the same time, Google is trying to reassure Fitbit owners that their privacy and data will be respected. Google says they will be transparent about what data is collected and how it is used, and will never sell it to third-parties. They have also committed to not using Fitbit data for Google ads. This should be reassuring for customers concerned about their data being in the hands of a company that specializes in monetizing consumer data.
If Google is as successful with Fitbit as they have been with their line of Pixel smartphones, the battle over the wearable space promises exciting developments moving forward.