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Fitbit confirms assets acquisition of Pebble

By Vivian Hendriksz

8 Dec 2016


London - Although the abandonment rate of wearables remains high, that has not deterred wearable device maker Fitbit from acquiring the intellectual property, personnel and software of Pebble, smartwatch manufacturer.

Fitbit confirmed it had acquired specific assets from Pebble Wednesday morning, including key personnel, intellectual property and software and firmware development. The deal however does not include Pebble's current hardware products, such as its smartwatches.

Pebble, which was founded on Kickstarter 4 years ago, announced on its own site that it would be shutting down its business following the sale. The agreement is reportedly less than 40 million dollars according to Bloomberg and valued less than Pebble's current debts and obligations. However Fitbit will not be assuming Pebble's debt and will be selling the majority of the company's assets, including its existing inventory.

One of the first wearable developers, Pebble will no long promote, manufacture or sell any of its devices. However, its current smartwatch wearables, including the Pebble 2 will continue to work as normal, although their functionality and service may be reduced in the future. In addition, the Time 2, Time Round and Pebble Core shipments will be cancelled and backers will be refunded by March 2017.

"Wearables have evolved tremendously since our Kickstarter project in 2012. Significant advancements and exciting new products on the horizon will drive the continued growth of the category. In evaluating our future, we wanted to align with a company that shared our take on how wearable technology can bring delight and utility to our lives," said Eric Migicovsky, CEO of Pebble, in a statement.

Fitbit, who has managed to hold onto its position in the wearable market despite the arrival of Apple Watch, aims to use the industry expertise from Pebble to strengthen its platform development and facilitate the faster delivery of new products. The acquisition, which includes 25 percent of Pebble's personnel, will also speed up the development of customized solutions and third party applications for Fitbit Group Health.

"With basic wearables getting smarter and smartwatches adding health and fitness capabilities, we see an opportunity to build on our strengths and extend our leadership position in the wearables category," said James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit. "With this acquisition, we’re well positioned to accelerate the expansion of our platform and ecosystem to make Fitbit a vital part of daily life for a wider set of consumers, as well as build the tools healthcare providers, insurers and employers need to more meaningfully integrate wearable technology into preventative and chronic care."

Photos: Pebble and Fitibit

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