The Google Fitbit deal announced in early November could possibly be facing a roadblock. According to an anonymous source speaking with Reuters, the United States Department of Justice could be looking into the deal with concerns about antitrust issues.
As of now, there’s no official announcement from the DOJ on the investigation, so this is all rumor. However, the DOJ investigating such a large deal — valued at $2.1 billion — isn’t out of the ordinary.
Watchdog groups such as Public Citizen and the Center for Digital Democracy, among others, have already gone on record denouncing the Google Fitbit deal. These groups contend that if Google has direct access to the health data of millions of Americans, it will give the company more power than it should have.
However, Google already obtains fitness data from smartphones. While fitness data obtained from a smartphone app such as Google Fit isn’t as precise as data from a smartwatch or fitness tracker, it can obtain more data than you would think. Fitness data also goes to Google through wearables running the Wear OS platform, such as prominent smartwatches like the Fossil Gen 5 and the Misfit Vapor X.
Regardless, it’s likely the DOJ will take a look at a large deal with such ramifications, so this rumor will likely turn out to be true.
If the Google Fitbit deal does happen, it could give Google the edge it needs to go up against Apple and its Apple Watch, which currently dominates the wearables market.