Google signs deal to buy Fitbit as US Department of Justice investigation continues

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In this news, we discuss the Google signs deal to buy Fitbit as US Department of Justice investigation continues

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Search and advertising giant Google has struck a deal to buy fitness-tracking company Fitbit, the companies said Thursday, even as the U.S. Department of Justice said he was continuing his investigation into the $ 2.1 billion transaction.

The Justice Department, which sued Alphabet Inc’s Google in October for allegedly violating antitrust law in its research and advertising activities, said it “had not made a final decision on whether to pursue enforcement action “regarding the Fitbit agreement.

“We have complied with the DOJ (Department of Justice) comprehensive review for the past 14 months, and the agreed waiting period has expired without their objection,” a Google spokesperson said. “We keep in touch with them and we promise to answer any additional questions.”

Rarely does a big deal get done without antitrust approval.

Australia has yet to approve the transaction. Google last month obtained EU antitrust approval for its Fitbit offering after agreeing to restrictions on how it will use customer health data.

Fitbit makes a watch-like device for measuring physical activity that rivals Apple Watch and others. Google said it was buying the company in order to compete in this market.

“We have been working with global regulators on an approach that protects consumer privacy expectations,” Google said in a blog post, which indicated that Fitbit had 29 million active users.

“(This includes) a series of binding covenants confirming that data on the health and well-being of Fitbit users will not be used for Google ads and that data will be separated from other data relating to Google ads.”

Although Alphabet is best known for a free service, its search engine has many other businesses including online advertising services, audio and thermostat maker Nest, video broadcaster YouTube, and the company. of Waymo self-driving cars.

Google’s plan to buy Fitbit sparked concern when it was announced in late 2019 due to its already rich wealth of data about people, what they buy, where they travel, and more.

Fitbit’s fitness trackers and other devices monitor user steps and calories burned. They also measure floors climbed, heart rate, duration and quality of people’s sleep.

Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington and Munsif Vengattil in Bangalore; Edited by Arun Koyyur, Jan Harvey and David Gregorio

Original © Thomson Reuters

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