Google acquires Fitbit as antitrust concerns increase, says competition will boost

Google has finished its USD 2.1 billion acquisition of fitness-gadget marker Fitbit, a deal that could aid the internet company to grow even stronger, as US government regulators pursue an antitrust case aimed at undermining its power.

This competition of the acquisition on 14th January 2021 comes after 14 months of google announcing a deal that raised immediate alarms.

It is known that Google makes most of its money by selling ads based on information collected from the data of its billion users’ likings and whereabouts. People feared it might exploit Fitbit to breach deeper into their lives.

But Google landed up entering a series of commitments in Europe and other parts of the world promising it won’t use the health and fitness data from Fitbit’s 29 million users to sell more ads. They stand by with their statement that they’re more interested in adding Fitbit to its expanding range of internet-related products, which include smartphones, laptops, speakers, cameras and thermostats.

Rick Osterloh, Google’s Senior Vice President of devices and services, wrote in a blog on 14th January, “This deal has always been about devices, not data, and we’ve been clear since the beginning that we will protect Fitbit users’ privacy.”

Google is taking on Fitbit, a company that has sold about 120 million devices in 100 countries since its founding in 2009. The company fights a series of lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice and state attorneys general. The lawsuits claim that Google misappropriated uses the power that it has gathered as the owner of the world’s most dominant search vehicle. The Justice Department’s lawsuit isn’t scheduled to go to trial until September 2023.

In 1998, Google started out with nothing apart from its namesake search engine. It has now become a primary player in email, digital maps, web browsing and mobile devices through its Android software. The success of these free services created a digital advertising empire and is the main reason that Google’s corporate parent, Mountain View, a California based Alphabet Inc., proudly holds a market value of nearly USD 1.2 trillion.

The Justice Department had time until 13th January to object the Fitbit deal but they didn’t file a formal objection. The agency didn’t respond to a request for comment on 14th January.

Google has confidently said that it will answer the Justice Department’s questions about the Fitbit deal.

The company stated, “We are confident this deal will increase competition.”

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