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Google considers buying Fitbit as time runs out for the wearable company

October 28th, 2019 at 4:26 PM
Fitbit acquisition

Google started offering hints earlier this year that it wanted to finally make a serious push into wearables of its own, thanks to clues like the company’s job listing spotted back in February that sought someone for the position of wearables vice president.

And when you couple that with Google’s $40 million acquisition of Fossil’s technology, it makes the overture from Google’s parent company Alphabet to buy wearable maker Fitbit, which was reported on Monday, look like Google is getting much closer to finally developing branded wearables of its own.

Fitbit — a publicly-traded company that has struggled mightily — has been open to and exploring the possibility of selling itself for at least a month. Reuters reported on Monday that Google’s parent company has formally “made an offer” to acquire Fitbit, which has kicked up talk again that something could finally come of the rumors that have circulated for years that Google might develop a smartwatch of its own, perhaps under the Pixel brand — with Fitbit technology potentially supporting such a product.

Not much else is known at this point about Google’s plans, including a price that Google has offered for Fitbit, with Reuters also stressing that there’s no certainty these talks could result in an actual deal. Fitbit, meanwhile, might not have much time left, with the company getting squeezed by Apple and Samsung devices that are more sophisticated as well as cheaper options from Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Huawei.

This deal would also bring what’s left off the Pebble smartwatch brand and technology under the Google umbrella since Fitbit bought Pebble in a deal that once again underscores a cold hard truth. Competition in this quickly consolidating space seems to belong only to a handful of companies — specifically, the biggest players who have the pockets deep enough to fund the R&D and other costs associated with developing increasingly popular smartwatches and activity trackers to an extent that seems to have eluded the smaller innovative players who tried hard to grab a piece of the market.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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