Google buys Fitbit for $2.1bn (but vows not to use health data for ads)

Nov 4, 2019 | Ads, Content marketing, Search

Google has bought fitness device maker Fitbit for $2.1bn (£1.6bn), but the tech giant is seeking to calm fears by insisting health data will not be used for Google ads.

The move lets Google to expand into the market for fitness trackers and smart watches. It comes at a time when loss-making Fitbit has been looking to expand into other areas.

The deal is expected to be completed in 2020, subject to approval by Fitbit’s shareholders and regulatory approvals.

The firm also moved to reassure customers over data confidentiality, amid persisting concerns over the security of personal information online and how it is used by technology companies.

The firm’s co-founder and chief executive James Park said: “More than 12 years ago, we set an audacious company vision – to make everyone in the world healthier. Today, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved towards reaching that goal. “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. Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission. With Google’s resources and global platform, 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.”

Google senior vice president Rick Osterloh said: “Fitbit has been a true pioneer in the industry and has created terrific products, experiences and a vibrant community of users.

“We’re looking forward to working with the incredible talent at Fitbit, and bringing together the best hardware, software and AI, to build wearables to help even more people around the world.”

Fitbit says its devices will continue to operate across both Android and iOS platforms.

The company added: “Consumer trust is paramount to Fitbit.

“Strong privacy and security guidelines have been part of Fitbit’s DNA since day one, and this will not change.

“Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why.

“The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.”

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