Masterclassing

Fitbit Acquires Pebble – But Doesn't Want its Watches

Tyrone Stewart

pebble-time-three-colours.pngFitbit, the connected health and fitness company best known for its fitness trackers, has acquired specific assets of smartwatch makers Pebble. The acquisition excludes Pebble’s hardware products.

Rumours have swirling around for the last few weeks that Fitbit was set to acquire Pebble for a price between $34m–40m (£27-32m). Both companies avoided confirmation then but the deal has now officially been finalised – although the price remains undisclosed.

As part of the acquisition, many of Pebble’s current team will link up with Fitbit to continue their work on wearable software. Fitbit will maintain services so that Pebble devices can continue to work as normal for now – however, functionality and service may be reduced in the future.

“While dissolving Pebble as you know today is difficult, I am happy to announce that many members of Team Pebble will be joining the Fitbit family to continue their work on wearable software platforms,” said Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky in a blog post. “It’s a bittersweet day, but I want to extend my biggest thanks to the Pebble community.”

Pebble began its life on Kickstarter in 2012 and managed to raise over $10m by the end of its funding period – making it the most funded Kickstarter project ever.

Despite continuing its crowd-funding success, Pebble was rumoured to have run into financial difficulties in May 2015 – taking out a $5m loan and $5m line of credit. These struggles continued into 2016 when Pebble was forced to lay off 40 employees, a quarter of its staff, in March. This acquisition is the final nail in the coffin of the company as was.