Google muscles up with Fitbit deal amid antitrust concerns

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SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) – Google has finalized its $ 2.1 billion acquisition of fitness gadget maker Fitbit, a deal that could help the internet company grow even stronger as U.S. government regulators pursue a antitrust case aimed at undermining its power.

The acquisition’s closing on Thursday comes 14 months after Google announced a deal that immediately raised alarms.

Google makes the most of its money by selling ads based on the information it collects on the interests and location of its billions of users. Privacy watchdogs feared exploiting Fitbit to scrutinize people’s lives even deeper.

But Google ended up making a series of commitments in Europe and other parts of the world, pledging not to use the health and fitness data of Fitbit’s 29 million users to sell more ‘advertisement. He insists he’s more interested in adding Fitbit to his expanding arsenal of internet-connected products, which includes smartphones, laptops, speakers, cameras, and thermostats.

“This deal has always been about devices, not data, and we’ve been clear from the start that we’ll protect the privacy of Fitbit users,” wrote Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of devices and services at Google, in a blog post Thursday.

Google is grabbing Fitbit – a company that has sold around 120 million devices in 100 countries since it was founded in 2009 – while fighting a string of lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice and state attorneys general. The lawsuits allege that Google is abusing the power it has accumulated as the owner of the world’s most dominant search engine. The trial of the Ministry of Justice is not scheduled before September 2023.

Since its inception with nothing more than its eponymous search engine in 1998, Google has grown into a dominant player in email, digital maps, web browsing, and mobile devices thanks to its Android operating system. The success of these free services is propelling a digital advertising empire and is the main reason Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc., based in Mountain View, Calif., Has a market value of nearly $ 1.2 trillion. dollars.

The Justice Department had until January 13 to oppose the Fitbit deal, but did not file a formal objection. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Google has said it is ready to answer any other questions from the Justice Department regarding its Fitbit deal.

“We are confident that this agreement will increase competition,” the company said in a statement.

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