Google has been facing unprecedented scrutiny on many fronts. But amidst these allegations, Google has completed its acquisition of wearables pioneer Fitbit. At first, Google’s use of the vast amount of user-health has been a bone of contention to get regulatory approvals.
Well, the concern was obvious as the giant share of the targeted advertising goes to Google. It was well-planned that unsurprising that both Google and Fitbit are looking to address concerns in their respective statements on the acquisition. Among both, Google was quick to insist that the deal is related to hardware, which is the real struggle in this particular vertical.
Now, Google is in direct competition with Apple in the segment of fitness and wearables.
Google SVP of Devices and Services Rick Osterloh notes:
The deal is destined to happen about devices, not data, and we have been very clear without a doubt since starting that we will keep the confidentiality of Fitbit users. The policy to ensure this privacy has been devised by working with global regulators on an approach that safeguards consumers’ privacy expectations. This consists of an agreement that states that Fitbit users’ health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads in any form.
We’ll also maintain access to Android APIs that enable devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches to interoperate with Android smartphones. But Fitbit users can opt for any third-party services to sync fitness and health data to their Fitbit account.
All these commitments will be applicable globally so that consumers around the globe take benefit. Google has assured that it will consult regulators around the world to live up to these commitments.
We know that the levels and amount of data collected from devices have increased unprecedently after digitization. This collected has reached the threshold when companies like Fitbit and Apple to have their products taken more seriously as medical devices — or at least medically adjacent. Both organizations have done many health studies, sought FDA clearance, and collaborate with multiple insurance giants.
This notable $2.1 billion deal’s completion has many concessions. The EU specifically presented a significant number of caveats when it finally greenlit the acquisition last month. It noted at the time, “The commitments will determine how Google can use the data collected for ad purposes, how interoperability between competing wearables and Android will be safeguarded and how users can continue to share health and fitness data if they choose to.”
As part of the deal, Google has agreed not to use Fitbit data for its Ad promotion for 10 years. In this concession, the commission has the right to extend this impasse to another 10 years.
As already mentioned, Google has also agreed to maintain third-party developer access to Android APIs to ensure fair competition.
If you don’t know, Fitbit was found in 2007 and has become the most prominent in the world of wearable fitness tracker space. However, the company has been in a struggling phase since the inception of the smartwatch and eventually fall behind Apple in terms of market share. Again with the category named Versa in the domain of smartwatch, but the move was too late to do anything significant.
Talking about the deal, this will help Google to cope up with the struggles to make a dent with Android Wear/Wear OS. With the acquisition of Fitbit, the company will earn a prominent position in hardware maker.
In the period of late 2019, Google indulged in another acquisition of Timex smartwatch technology for the whopping amount of $40 million to take on the Apple Watch Market.
Now, given the fact that the health & fitness segment is on all-time and still has a lot of potential to unearth. There is a good chance for the other players to enter this particular segment. And for the info on the integration of wearable devices with your fitness machine through the IoT ecosystem, you can contact our team.