Google Bulks Up In Devices With Deal For Fitbit

Ruben Fields
November 5, 2019

Google said on Friday that it sees an opportunity to introduce its own wearable devices and invest more in digital health. Alphabet said Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, that it will pay $7.35 per share.

- Google has agreed to buy Fitbit for $2.1 billion in a move giving the United States tech giant an entry into the wearable technology space, the two companies announced on November 1, 2019.

Fitbit's fitness trackers and other devices monitor users' daily steps, calories burned and distance traveled. Because of the Google innovations and Google's resources, Fitbit can accelerate around the world to scale faster ahead in the wearables category, make health and accessible to everyone.

The move comes with Google seeking to expand beyond its core business of online search into hardware, and with Fitbit struggling against rivals including Apple.

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Fitbit once dominated the wearable market but over the years, it has lost market share in the low-end to Chinese OEMs and in the high-end to Apple. Now after Google bought Fitbit, the focus of the company is to build stronger trust among users than before. "It's obviously embarrassing to enforcers if they allow it without any sort of scrutiny", Stoller said.

The Alphabet unit is largely absent from wearables gadgetry, following its failed Google Glass project, but produces the WearOS software used by makers of these devices. Women can also track their periods. "The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads", Fitbit said in its release, according to media reports. "Similar to our other products, with wearables, we will be transparent about the data we collect and why", he wrote.

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the US print edition of The Wall Street Journal (November 2, 2019). That could help Google know that a runner stopped at a coffee shop on the way home.

Fitbit's privacy policy says data it collects include a user's date of birth, gender, height, and weight, and for some users, it also stores logs tracking their food and water intake, as well as sleep and female health patterns.

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