Google has been offering the Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) operating system for connected watches for years. Mountain View currently only offers this platform to other manufacturers, but does not sell its own watches.
But that will soon change. In 2019, Google surprised everyone by announcing the acquisition of Fitbit, a specialist in connected watches and fitness bracelets. The cost of this acquisition is estimated at $ 2.1 billion. However, Google doesn’t currently own Fitbit as this type of acquisition is taking a long time, also because the deals need to get the go-ahead from various regulators, including the European Commission.
The latter seems particularly concerned about how Google might use user data. Therefore, an investigation is currently ongoing. The good news, however, is that Montain View is on the verge of getting the green light from the Commission to acquire Fitbit.
According to a Reuters source, the European regulator would consider approving it after Google made new commitments on the data. For its part, Google would have confirmed that it had indeed proposed to the Commission to restrict the use of Fitbit data by Google Ads and to increase the monitoring of the application of this rule.
Google would also commit to continuing to support the products of other manufacturers of connected accessories for Android, and continuing to allow Fitbit product users to connect their watches to third-party applications via APIs if they so choose. These concessions would allow Google to expedite the Fitbit acquisition. At the moment, however, we are still waiting for an announcement from the European Commission.
Google says it doesn’t care about data, it cares about watches
A Google representative quoted by TechCrunch stated: “This offer is for devices, not data. The space for wearable devices is very busy, and we believe that the combination of the hardware efforts of Google and Fitbit will increase competition in the industry, benefit consumers, and make the next generation of devices more powerful and affordable. “”
“We worked with the European Commission on an updated approach to protect consumer expectations that data from Fitbit devices would not be used for promotional purposes.”also explains the company.
The market for connected accessories such as watches or wireless headphones is currently growing. In addition, shipments of these types of devices are expected to increase anyway this year despite the crisis, while the smartphone market will see a significant decline.