For half a decade, Google’s Wear OS (also known as Android Wear) has struggled along in the world of fitness trackers. A year after its launch, it trailed well behind Fitbit, Jawbone, and Apple Watch, with just 10% of the market share. Google partnered with dozens of manufacturers, including LG, Samsung, Huawei, and fashion watch maker Fossil, but never made much more headway into the market.
All of that is about to change for Google with its purchase of wearable industry leader Fitbit. The purchase was rumored in October of 2019, and made official on November 1. Google spent $2.1 billion on the publicly traded company, or about $7.35 per share.
“Fitbit has been a true pioneer in the industry and has created terrific products, experiences and a vibrant community of users,” said Rick Osterloh, the senior VP at Google in charge of devices in a very complimentary statement. “We’re looking forward to working with the incredible talent at Fitbit… to build wearables to help even more people around the world.”
Fitbit by Google will, in fact, be the first time Google has made its own wearable rather than going through a manufacturer partner.
“More than 12 years ago, we set an audacious company vision—to make everyone in the world healthier,” said James Park, CEO of Fitbit and co-founder of the company. “We have built a trusted brand that supports more than 28 million active users around the globe who rely on our products to live a healthier, more active life. Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission. With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone.”
Consumer trust has always been important to Park and Fitbit, and Google intends to carry it forward. “Strong privacy and security guidelines have been part of Fibtit’s DNA since day one, and this will not change,” Fitbit wrote in its press release about the Google purchase. “Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why. The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.”
The deal will be finalized in 2020, after arbitration and regulatory approvals.
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