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November 1, 2019

Google to Buy Fitbit for $2.1 Billion, Amid Healthcare Data Drive

Fitbit had adopted Google's Cloud Healthcare API in April 2018

By CBR Staff Writer

Google has inked a $2.1 billion deal to buy wearables and healthcare data specialist Fitbit, in an agreement expected to close in 2020.

The deal comes 18 months after Fitbit migrated to Google Cloud (GCP);  a move it said will allow it to tap GCP’s health-focused applications.

“Fitbit intends to use Google’s new Cloud Healthcare API to help the company integrate further into the healthcare system, such as by connecting user data with electronic medical records (EMR)” the company said at the time.

“Combining Fitbit data with EMRs can provide patients and clinicians a more comprehensive view of the patient profile” it added.

Fitbit Sold: “Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their data”

Google and Fitbit emphasised “strong privacy and security guidelines” announcing the deal today, saying “consumer trust is paramount to Fitbit.”

“Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why. The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.”

Fitbit had been pushing to shift its business model from one focused on device sales to one that brings in recurring streams of revenue; e.g. by integrating its devices into health insurance plans.

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Last month it also announced that it was working with the Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance to build a tool for early detection of atrial fibrillation; the most common type of irregular heartbeat and a significant risk factor for stroke.

Today’s agreement comes as Gartner estimates global wearable devices revenue will rise to $52 billion by 2020, a substantial 29 percent increase year-on-year. It anticipates the market to be worth $88 billion in 2023, a five-year CAGR of 23.8 percent, driven by smartwatches, head-mounted displays and ear-worn wearables.

James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission. With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone. I could not be more excited for what lies ahead.”

Read this: Google Cloud’s Healthcare API Aims to Tackle Interoperability Issues with Existing, Emerging Data Standards

 

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