Google has reached into parent company Alphabet’s $121 billion cash reserves to spend $2.1 billion on Fitbit, a move into the key consumer health market that places them in more direct competition with rival Apple.
For more than a year, Ftibit and Google have partnered on healthcare applications; last April, Fitbit announced that it would work with Google’s application programming interface to connect data with electronic medical records via Google’s Cloud Healthcare API.
That move followed Fitbit’s February 2018 acquisition of Twine Health, which gave the wearables company a consumer health platform which complied with existing federal regulations.
“Working with Google gives us an opportunity to transform how we scale our business, allowing us to reach more people around the world faster, while also enhancing the experience we offer to our users and the healthcare system,” said Fitbit CEO and co-founder James Park at the time of the 2018 Google partnership.
Companies throughout the healthcare industry are pushing to get closer to patients, and wearables have opened a new window into their health.
Additionally, the technology can potentially encourage patients to pursue preventive healthcare measures, rather than seeking care after they’re ill.