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Google says it has finally completed its $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit, even though the US Justice Department is still reportedly examining the deal over antitrust concerns.
Google’s announcement comes a month after government regulators in Europe signed off on the deal after Google promised not to combine Fitbit data with Google’s advertising business over the next decade.
Google now says the same commitments will apply globally. “This deal has always been about devices, not data, and we’ve been clear since the beginning that we will protect Fitbit users’ privacy,” said Rick Osterloh, Google’s SVP for devices and services.
“We’ll also maintain access to Android APIs that enable devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches to interoperate with Android smartphones,” he added. “And we’ll continue to allow Fitbit users to choose to connect to third-party services so you’ll still be able to sync your favorite health and fitness apps to your Fitbit account.”
How Google will use Fitbit’s technology wasn’t specifically revealed, but the deal opens a path for the tech giant to start producing its own company-branded smartwatch. Google is also absorbing the 29 million active users who currently wear Fitbit health-tracking devices.
CEO James Parker says the merger will accelerate Fitbit’s R&D in the wearable space. “We’ll be able to innovate faster, provide more choices, and make even better products to support your health and wellness needs,” he wrote in a blog post. “But I also want you to know that many of the things you know and love about Fitbit will remain the same.”
Although the merger is complete, the Justice Department told Reuters it hasn’t “reached a final decision about whether to pursue an enforcement action” on the Fitbit deal. So it’s still possible US regulators could try to reverse the acquisition or impose additional conditions. In October, the Justice Department also sued Google on claims the tech giant has been violating antitrust laws to cement its control over internet search. If the DOJ’s case succeeds, the company faces the prospect of a US court ordering a breakup of Google’s search business.
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