Google inked a deal to acquire fitness tracker company Fitbit for $2.1 billion, the search giant’s latest move to strengthen its position in the wearables market.
Rick Osterloh, Google’s SVP for devices and services, said in a blog the deal represents “an opportunity to invest even more in WearOS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market”. He added Google plans to “work closely with Fitbit to combine the best of our respective smartwatch and fitness tracker platforms”.
Fitbit CEO James Park said in a statement access to Google’s resources and global platform will allow it to “accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster and make health even more accessible to everyone”.
The tech giant ramped investment in its wearables play earlier this year with a $40 million purchase of smartwatch technology from Fossil. However, the Fitbit deal will net Google a much larger foothold in the wearables market, where it struggled to gain traction since the introduction of the WearOS platform five years ago.
Park noted Fitbit has more than 28 million active users worldwide: Canalys data showed Fibit held 24 per cent share of the wearables market in North America in Q2 2019, ranking second behind Apple (38 per cent).
Osterloh addressed concerns about user privacy raised by the deal, pledging Google will never sell personal information to anyone or use Fitbit data for targeted advertising.
He added Fitbit users will also be given tools enabling them to review, move or delete their data.
The deal is expected to close in 2020.