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Google has agreed to buy Fitbit, a company that makes fitness bands and smartwaches for $2.1 billion in a move giving the US tech giant an entry into the wearable technology space, the two companies announced it on Friday Nov 1, 2019.
The move comes with Google seeking to expand beyond its core business of online search into hardware, and with Fitbit struggling against rivals including Apple.
“We have built a trusted brand that supports more than 28 million active users around the globe who rely on our products to live a healthier, more active life” , Fitbit co-founder and chief executive James Park said in a statement by the two firms announcing the deal.
“Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission. Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone. I could not be more excited for what lies ahead.”
Rick Osterloh, Google senior vice president for devices and services, said the deal for the wearable tech pioneer is one “bringing together the best hardware, software and AI, to build wearables to help even more people around the world.”
Given that fitness data is quite private and anything that has Google involved raises privacy concerns in the minds of users, Osterloh in his official blog post highlighted how the company will guarantee the privacy of Fitbit users. “Similar to our other products, with wearables, we will be transparent about the data we collect and why. We will never sell personal information to anyone. Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads. And we will give Fitbit users the choice to review, move, or delete their data,” he wrote.
While Fitbit was among the first to popularize fitness bands, it has lost ground in recent years to rivals.
Fitbit has introduced its own smartwatch in 2017 but it has failed to keep pace with the Apple Watch.
Apart from Apple, Fitbit arguably has the best footing in the smartwatch and fitness band markets, although, in terms of volume companies like Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei are ahead.