09:34 GMT +314 November 2019
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    Fitness trackers, from left, Basis Peak, Adidas Fit Smart, Fitbit Charge, Sony SmartBand, and Jawbone Move, are posed for a photo next to an iPhone, in New York (File)

    Facebook Was in Talks to Purchase Fitbit Prior to Google Purchase - Reports

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    Google announced on Friday that it purchased wearable company Fitbit for $2.1 billion. Rick Osterloh, the Senior Vice President of devices and services aid for Google said that the purchase is an opportunity for "Wear OS" investment, as well as introducing "Made by Google wearable" devices to the market.

    A report from The Information has revealed on Friday that prior to the purchase of Fitbut by Google on the same day for $2.1 billion, Facebook was also in talks to purchase the fitness tracking producer.

    According to the Verge, the details of the talks between Fitbit and Facebook are unclear but money may have been the deciding factor. The Informations report claims that Facebook was offering Fitbit about half of what Google ultimately paid, a significant advantage for Google.

    The revelation of interest by Facebook is indicative of its expansion into hardware. As observed from its ambitious moves in the past few years, such as the Oculus virtual reality headsets, Portal smart speakers, and planned AR glasses, the company has started to form a considerable footprint in the wearable technology market.

    The social media company has also looked into fitness tracking before with its purchase of Moves, a once popular fitness app for Android and iPhone. Facebook would later go on to shut Moves down four years later due to a drop in users as well as project development.

    In a deal worth around $750 million, Facebook recently announced that it had purchased CTRL-labs, a startup developing technology which can interpret human brain signals through a wearable armband.

    The expansion by Facebook is driven by CEO Mark Zuckerberg's personal interest in overseeing the next social media platform beyond smartphones, which he believes will eventually become less necessary, The Information reports.

    Both Google and Facebook have faced increased scrutiny from the US and European governments on allegations of "anti-competitive behaviour", with Congress launching bipartisan investigations into the companies.

    House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler said in a statement in June that “The open internet has delivered enormous benefits to Americans, including a surge of economic opportunity, massive investment, and new pathways for education online”.

    “But there is growing evidence that a handful of gatekeepers have come to capture control over key arteries of online commerce, content, and communications."

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