After the review process on both sides of the law, Google recently announced that they have just completed the acquisition of the wearable device company Fitbit.
The fact that Google owns and uses a large amount of information about users’ health is a legal concern of this deal. Because after all, oriented advertising is still the focus of the tech giant’s attention.
Therefore, it is not surprising to see that both Google and Fitbit are trying to find a way to resolve outside rumors through the announcement of the deal mentioned above. For its part, Google has confirmed early on that the reason for this deal is mainly “hardware”, because this is an area that the company has been having difficulty in the past few years. No matter how hard Google tries, they still can’t find an Apple-matched position in the wearable category.
Specifically, Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Google’s Devices and Services Division, wrote:
“The deal has been focused on devices from the start, not data, and we’ve made it clear from the start that we will protect the privacy of all Fitbit users. We have been working with regulators around the globe on an approach that is to ensure user privacy expectations. In particular, there is a series of commitments reflecting that Fitbit users’ health data will not be used for Google ads, whereby this data will also be categorized and segregated from advertising data. Google report.
The API currently allowing movement tracking and smartwatches to interact with Android phones will remain the same. We’ll also continue to allow users to sync third-party app data to a Fitbit account. This commitment applies globally so all users benefit from it. In addition, we will continue to work with the authorities to make sure that Google is upholding its commitments. “
James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit, wrote similarly: “User trust will remain paramount, and we will maintain strong privacy and security measures. Bring data control to consumers and stay transparent about each type of information and the purpose for which it is collected. Google will continue to protect the privacy of Fitbit users, and has made a series of commitments with regulators in many countries. This is a confirmation that the Fitbit user’s health data won’t be used for Google ads. Google also confirmed that it will still allow Fitbit users to freely connect to third-party services.
The level and sensitivity of the data collected by these types of consumer devices is on the rise. Not only that, companies like Fitbit and Apple are also focusing on bringing their products to the level of medical devices. These two companies have done a lot of research on health, looking for ways to get FDA to approve and work with insurance companies. It is not difficult to see that the above trend will only increase but not decrease.
For this $ 2.1 billion deal to be completed, the parties must accept a part of the concession. Specifically, after “green light” for Google to buy Fitbit, Europe has issued many warnings. At that time, there was a news page that wrote: “Commitments will determine how the data collected will be used by Google for advertising, how interoperability between Android phones and competitor wearables will be guaranteed, and whether users can continue to share health data at will“.
As part of the agreement, Google must agree not to use Fitbit’s data for advertising for the next 10 years, the European Commission must also have the right to extend this period for another 10 years. Google must also agree to continue to maintain access of third-party developers to the Android API, in order to ensure competitiveness.
Fitbit was founded in 2007. Since then, the company has become a symbol of the movement tracking wearable market. However, the company struggled to maintain that leadership position in the face of smartwatches, eventually losing its relatively large market share to the Apple Watch. Then Fitbit paved the way for itself with products like the Versa, but it seems too late for them to change the department on their own.
The deal also makes sense for Google as they can’t find a way to make their mark with Android Wear / Wear OS. Holding Fitbit in the hand also means holding a well-known hardware manufacturer. This deal is also quite similar to the acquisition of a part of HTC’s assets to serve the development of the Pixel phone line, only the name Fitbit is still reputable enough to continue to “live” more in the period. next time. It is also worth mentioning that Fitbit’s growth is thanks to a number of deals the company has made, including the acquisition of smartwatch pioneer – Pebble. .
At the end of 2019, Google also acquired Timex’s smartwatch manufacturing technology for $ 40 million. This is a move that shows that the company appears to be taking the Apple Watch as a direct target. This is quite understandable because this is the product line that brings Apple not only hardware revenue but also opens the door to many other health care products, typically the Fitness + service. recently launched. If CES this year could talk, what it confirms is that home training is becoming a huge business with many available advantages. Even Samsung is also trying to step into this “land”.
Trung ND (Refer to TechCrunch)