Fitbit has just announced its purchase of competing fitness band startup Pebble. The firm would be completing the purchase for less than $40 million 0 according to Bloomberg.
The purchase appears to be more for the software and platform services of the smaller companies than for their hardware solutions. According to Bloomberg, the sale is about acquiring the software engineers, testers and intellectual property related to the “Pebble watch’s operating system, watch apps, and cloud services” – commonly known as an acquihire.
As for the hardware and product inventory, it will be sold off to interested purchasers and does not constitute an important part of the deal. For current users of Pebble products, the firm promises that “no immediate changes to the Pebble user experience will happen at this time”, but also allows new users of the device to return theirs for refunds or exchanges.
“Smart wearables, meanwhile, are still struggling to find their place in the market,” added Llamas. “There is plenty of curiosity about what smart wearables – particularly smartwatches – can do, but they have yet to convince users that they are a must-have item. The good news is that smart wearables are still in their initial stages and vendors are slowly making strides to improve them. But this also means that it will be a slow transition from basic wearables to smart wearables.”
Months after that report, it is clear that the smart watch industry (as a mass market one) has already collapsed, with companies like Motorola and Microsoft pulling out despite having critically acclaimed devices, and the likes of even the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear 3 suffering in the market.
As the smartwatch and fitness band market realigns itself to be more of a niche market going forward, perhaps the wisdom of Microsoft’s abandonment of the market might become apparent sooner rather than later.