Google is buying Fitbit for $2.1 billion in a deal sure to ignite greater competition with Apple in the wearable fitness and health market.
Announcement of the deal on Friday brought a sudden morning surge in Fitbit stock by 15%. The deal is expected to close in 2020, the companies said.
Fitbit said it has sold more than 100 million devices in the category so far, with millions of users. The company said that users will remain in control of their data, adding that Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.
Google’s hardware chief Rick Osterloh doubled down on that commitment, adding in a blog that “we will never sell personal information to anyone. Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads. And we will give Fitbit users the choice to review, move or delete their data.”
Google also remains committed to its Wear OS and ecosystem partners. “We plan to work closely with Fitbit to combine the best of our respective smartwatch and fitness tracker platforms,” he said in the blog on Friday.
Google announced a deal in January to buy $40 million of Fossil’s smartwatch technology. Apple is the king in the smartwatch market, with 51% of the market, according to a February report from Strategy Analytics for the fourth quarter of 2018. At that point, Samsung was in second place, with Fitbit and Garmin in the third and fourth positions. For all of 2018, Fitbit finished in second with 12.2% of the market, just ahead of Samsung at 11.8%.