Google eyes move into smartwatch sector with bid for Fitbit

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By Euronews  with Reuters
Fitbit shares soared following reports of a takeover bid
Fitbit shares soared following reports of a takeover bid   -   Copyright  Reuters

Google's parent company, Alphabet, has made an offer to buy fitness tracker brand Fitbit — a move that has sparked some privacy concerns.

Reuters reports the US technology giant has made the offer as it tries to move in on the market for smartwatches and wearable technology, according to sources. 

Fitbit makes devices that can track and store intimate health data such as heart rate, quality and length of sleep, daily steps, and distance covered during exercise.

Analysts agree that the strategic value of companies such as Fitbit lie in the large amount of data they collect on the fitness and health of their users.

This is especially sensitive information in terms of privacy, meaning if the deal were to be confirmed, it would likely face intense scrutiny from regulators.

Despite competing against other major tech companies in the smartphone space, Google has yet to develop any wearable offerings.

There is no certainty that the negotiations between Google and Fitbit will lead to any deal, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Google and Fitbit declined to comment.

Fitbit, which has seen its dominance in the sector chipped away by cheaper competition, saw its shares rise 27% on the news of Google’s offer.

Recently the company has been partnering with health insurers and making tuck-in acquisitions in the healthcare market, as part of efforts to diversify its revenue stream.

In August, Fitbit said it had signed a contract with the Singapore government to provide fitness trackers and services in a health program it said could reach up to 1 million users.