San Ramon, California: Google has completed a $2.1 billion acquisition of fitness gadget manufacturer Fitbit. This transaction can help the Internet company grow and grow, and US government regulators are launching plans to weaken its power Antitrust case.
Thursday’s completion of the acquisition comes 14 months after Google announced a deal that immediately raised alarms.
Google makes most of its money by selling ads based on information it collects about its billions of users’ interests and whereabouts. Privacy watchdogs feared it might exploit Fitbit to peer even deeper into people’s lives.
But Google wound up entering a series of commitments in Europe and other parts of the world pledging it won’t use the health and fitness data from Fitbit’s 29 million users to sell more ads. It insists it is more interested in adding Fitbit to its expanding arsenal of internet-connected products, which include smartphones, laptops, speakers, cameras and thermostats.
“This deal has always been about devices, not data, and we’ve been clear since the beginning that we will protect Fitbit users’ privacy,” Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services, wrote in a Thursday blog post.
Since its establishment in 2009, Google has sold about 120 million devices in 100 countries/regions, and Google is searching for Fitbit. The company is contending with a series of lawsuits filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general. The lawsuit accused Google of abusing its power as the owner of the world’s most important search engine. The Justice Department’s litigation was originally scheduled for September 2023.
Since it started as a search engine of the same name in 1998, Google has been dominating e-mail, digital maps, web browsing and mobile devices through its Android operating system. The success of these free services has promoted the development of the digital advertising empire, which is also the main reason why Alphabet, the parent company of Google Inc., headquartered in Mountain View, California, has a market value of nearly $1.2 trillion.
The Justice Department had until Jan. 13 to object to the Fitbit deal, but didn’t file a formal objection. The agency didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Google said it is ready to answer any further questions the Justice Department has about its Fitbit deal.
“We are confident this deal with increase competition,” the company said in a statement.