Business

One big step: Google buys Fitbit for $2.1 billion


Google, the company that helped make it fun to just sit around surfing the web, is jumping into the fitness-tracker business with both feet, buying Fitbit for about $2.1 billion.


Fitbit is a pioneer in wearable fitness technology, making a range of devices that have become pop-culture accessories, from basic trackers that count how many steps you take each day to smartwatches that display messages and notifications from phones.


Google, meanwhile, makes software for use in other manufacturers’ wearable devices, but those products haven’t gained much traction in the face of competition from Fitbit, Apple, Samsung and others.


Consumer Reports health privacy expert Dena Mendelsohn said she is concerned that people enrolled in wellness programs through their employers that use Fitbit devices could lose control over their data.


The deal is likely to face scrutiny from state and U.S. Department of Justice antitrust authorities, who are already investigating Google and other big tech companies over whether they have abused their market power.


Last year, Fitbit acquired a health coaching business that helps people manage conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.






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