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Google gets into wearables with Fitbit acquisition

05/11/2019
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Silicon Valley giant Google has this week announced its intention to acquire Fitbit for a rumoured $2.1 billion. The move follows Google’s development of Wear OS which powers smartwatches from brands such as Fossil, Mobvoi and Tag Heuer, and will see Google enter into the wearable hardware space.
Google gets into wearables with Fitbit acquisition
(Image via Fitbit).

Fitbit pioneered the wearables category by delivering innovative, affordable and engaging devices which help users understand and change their behaviour to improve their health. It’s a strategy which has paid off, with Fitbit selling more than 100 million devices to date. However, following strong competition from Apple, which has come to dominate the smartwatch market, and Garmin which has dominated the running side of wearables, Fitbit has struggled to find a niche.

Commenting on the acquisition, James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit, said:

“More than 12 years ago, we set an audacious company vision – to make everyone in the world healthier. Today, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved towards reaching that goal. We have built a trusted brand that supports more than 28 million active users around the globe who rely on our products to live a healthier, more active life. Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission. With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster and make health even more accessible to everyone. I could not be more excited for what lies ahead.”

The deal should enable Google to better compete with Apple in the growing, and lucrative smart watch segment (Strategy Analytics found that Apple took over about half of the global smartwatch market in 2018, in terms of units shipped). It’s expected that one of the first products that could follow the acquisition would be a Wear OS smartwatch featuring the Fitbit brand.

The transaction is expected to close in 2020 following approval from Fitbit’s stockholders.

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Google gets into wearables with Fitbit acquisition - Time to read 2 min
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