Google has agreed to buy Fitbit for USD 2.1 billion in a move giving the US tech giant an entry into the wearable technology space, the two companies announced Friday.
The move comes with Google seeking to expand beyond its core business of online search into hardware, and with Fitbit struggling against rivals including Apple.
“We have built a trusted brand that supports more than 28 million active users around the globe who rely on our products to live a healthier, more active life,” Fitbit co-founder and chief executive James Park said in a statement by the two firms announcing the deal.
“Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission. 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.” Rick Osterloh, Google senior vice president for devices and services, said the deal for the wearable tech pioneer is one “bringing together the best hardware, software and AI, to build wearables to help even more people around the world.” While Fitbit was among the first to popularize fitness bands, it has lost ground in recent years to rivals.
A survey by research firm IDC for the second quarter of 2019 found Fitbit in fourth place in a market led by China’s Xiaomi leading the global market, followed by Apple — which makes the leading smartwarch — and Chinese-based Huawei.
Fitbit has introduced its own smartwatch in 2017 but it has failed to keep pace with the Apple Watch.
Google, which faces pressure from regulators around the world over its dominance of internet search, has been boosting its hardware offerings, including a line of Pixel smartphones and tablets, along with connected speakers.
Founded in 2007, James Park and Eric Friedman, Fitbit considered as the third largest wearable company in shipments as of the third quarter of 2018, behind Xiaomi and Apple, according to an IDC report published in December 2018.