Google closes Fitbit acquisition, promising to create 'new devices' together
Well, that was... anything but quick. After entering into a "definitive agreement" to acquire Fitbit more than 14 months ago, Google has finally been allowed to complete the transaction, making a series of "binding commitments with global regulators" that ultimately quelled the privacy concerns of institutions like the EU's European Commission.
For those keeping score, that's significantly less time than it took T-Mobile and Sprint, for instance, to close their $26 billion merger last year, but also much longer than what Lenovo needed to finalize its $2.9 billion Motorola acquisition from none other than Google way back in 2014.
Fitbit Sense 2 and Inspire 3 confirmed?
In case you're wondering, the search giant is expected to cough up a little more than $2 billion for the US-based wearable industry pioneer established in 2007, aiming to work closely with Fitbit to "create new devices and services" helping you "enhance your knowledge, success, health, and happiness."
official blog post welcoming Fitbit's "talented team" to Mountain View earlier today, the fact that the recently released Sense and Inspire 2 were explicitly mentioned seems to suggest sequels of some sort are very much on the cards.While Big G Senior VP of Devices & Services Rick Osterloh didn't care to elaborate on his company's future hardware plans in his
The first-gen Fitbit Sense is only a few months old
Intriguingly, the Fitbit Versa 3 was not highlighted as evidence of the brand's market leadership and expertise, although it's obviously too soon to know whether or not that means anything. Of course, hardcore Google fans might be more interested to know if this deal will (eventually) result in the commercial release of an almost mythical Pixel Watch, but unfortunately, the answer to that question is similarly unclear at the moment.
Your data is completely safe with Google... or so says Google
Alas, we also have no idea if the Wear OS and Fitbit OS software platforms are eyed for some type of a combination effort sometime in the near future, but what's crystal clear, at least according to Google, is that the acquisition has always been "about devices" and not data.
In other words, the tech titan has no interest (allegedly) in harvesting the private user information collected by Fitbit over the years. There's also no plan (really?) to combine the health and wellness data of Fitbit device owners with any Google ads data whatsoever.
Health data collected on a Fitbit Versa 2
We're talking a lot of very valuable data, mind you, with Fitbit currently touting a "vibrant community" of more than 29 million active users after selling over 120 million wearable devices in total in 100+ countries since 2009.
To further emphasize the brand's enduring power and popularity, the company says its users have taken no less than 275 trillion steps while logging 15 billion+ hours of sleep over time. Despite all those incredible achievements, Fitbit has never been able to find much success in the smartwatch market, ranking fifth in global shipments during Q3 2020, for instance.
Then again, the world's most successful (and prolific) Wear OS device vendor was ranked even lower, so it's not exactly etched in stone that Google and Fitbit's combined hardware efforts will achieve Apple Watch-rivaling popularity anytime soon. Whatever might be in store on the OS front, Fitbit users will continue to be allowed to connect to "third party services", at least for now, which means your "favorite health and wellness apps" still offer full Fitbit account support.