Google Shores Up Fitbit Deal Amid Antitrust Concerns

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Google has completed its $2.1 billion acquisition of fitness-gadget maker Fitbit — a deal that could help the Internet company grow even stronger while US government regulators pursue an antitrust case aimed at undermining its power.

In India, Fitbit users who used its subscription service — Fitbit Premium, were also given a reduced subscription price, down to ₹ 1,000 from close to ₹ 7,000.

As per an IDC report, Fitbit is considered the fifth largest wearable company in shipments as of 2019 with a 14.8 per year-over-year growth, behind Xiaomi and Apple. Fitbit claims to have sold more than 100 million devices and have 28 million users.

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 into 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.

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Google is scooping up Fitbit — a company that has sold about 120 million devices in 100 countries since its 2009 founding — while it fights a series of lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice and state attorneys general. The lawsuits allege Google abuses the power that it has amassed as the owner of the world’s most dominant search engine. The Justice Department’s lawsuit isn’t scheduled to go to trial until September 2023.