January 25, 2021

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Google Closes the Fitbit Acquisition, Pledges To Not Use Data For Ads

Google Closes the Fitbit Acquisition, Pledges To Not Use Data For Ads

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Today Google’s senior VP of Hardware, Rick Osterloh, announced Google has closed its acquisition of Fitbit. The $2.1 billion deal was announced back in November 2019, which kicked off a regulatory review process from governments around the world concerned about Google’s influence over the Internet and the data it can collect on users. Normally, Osterloh announcing “Google has completed its acquisition of Fitbit, and I want to personally welcome this talented team to Google” would mean Google has cleared its worldwide regulatory gauntlet. Google’s announcement today is highly unusual since the DOJ has not yet cleared the deal. As the US Department of Justice told New York Times reporter Cecilia Kang, “The Antitrust Division’s investigation of Google’s acquisition of Fitbit remains ongoing.” Australian regulators also haven’t announced a final decision on the merger. It also seems particularly provocative for Google to do something like this while it is also dealing with a DOJ antitrust investigation.

Fitbit’s CEO, president, and co-founder, James Park, also has a blog post today, saying “many of the things you know and love about Fitbit will remain the same. We’ll stay committed to doing what’s right, to putting your health and wellness at the center of everything we do, and to offering a no-one-size-fits-all approach with choices that work across both Android and iOS.” […] Google’s side of the story is laid out in the blog post, with Osterloh saying “This deal has always been about devices, not data, and we’ve been clear since the beginning that we will protect Fitbit users’ privacy… Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be used for Google ads and this data will be separated from other Google ads data.” Google also says it won’t do anything crazy with Android, like lock all Android phones exclusively to Fitbit wearables, which apparently was something the EU was worried about.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.