Apple Watch has blood on its hands: Pebble is dead

Fitbit today announced that it has acquired specific assets of Pebble, including key personnel and intellectual property related to software and firmware development. The acquisition excludes the company’s hardware products.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

The Pebble transaction was completed on December 6.

“Fitbit Inc., the fitness band maker, has acquired software assets from struggling smartwatch startup Pebble Technology Corp., a move that will help it better compete with Apple Inc.,” Mark Gurman and Olivia Zaleski report for Bloomberg.

“While Fitbit didn’t disclose terms of the acquisition, the price is less than $40 million, and Pebble’s debt and other obligations exceed that, two of the people said. Fitbit is not taking on the debt, one of the people said,” Gurman and Zaleski report. “The rest of Pebble’s assets, including product inventory and server equipment, will be sold off separately, some of the people said.”

“Grabbing Pebble’s software talent and other resources, like its developer relationships, may help Fitbit better compete with Apple’s Watch,” Gurman and Zaleski report. “Fitbit began sending job offers to about 40 percent of Pebble’s employees in the last week. Most of these are software engineers. Very few Pebble interface designers were offered jobs and hardware teams were not offered positions, the people said. Some staff who didn’t get an offer will be given severance packages, one of the people said. The deal will mean the Pebble stock held by employees is worthless, two of the people said. The money will instead go to debt holders, vendors, some of its main equity investors, and Kickstarter refunds for the Time 2 and Pebble Core orders, the people said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple Watch, killer.

Apple Watch has blood on its hands: ‘Microsoft Band’ wearable is dead – October 4, 2016
Computerworld reviews Apple Watch Series 2: It’s time to jump in – September 27, 2016
Ars Technica reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘Great experience with very few hiccups’ – September 22, 2016
Mossberg reviews Apple’s watchOS 3: Quicker, easier, and more useful – September 21, 2016
CNET reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘The smooth wrist companion it was always meant to be’ – September 14, 2016
WSJ reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘Apple Watch finds its purpose in life’ – September 14, 2016
The Verge reviews Apple Watch Series 2: There’s something effortlessly cool about it – September 14, 2016
Apple Watch Series 2: Apple refocuses its smartwatch – September 12, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dasgeek” for the heads up.]


    1. It was probably privately held by a small group of founders, since they started on Kickstarter. Perhaps, later some vc or private equity put some money in. Either way, the people who lost out were involved in the decisions, so they can only blame themselves.

  1. They got bought out, by FitBit. Hardly dead. Just expect new another new smartwatch from FitBit that no real person will ever buy…

    Smart Watches are dying… only an idiot would buy one now.

  2. Back in February 2015, the Pebble CEO made some pretty bold statements about Pebble being able to challenge Apple and later in the year claimed AppleWatch hadn’t caused any Pebble smartwatch sales to fall. Pebble was said to be as strong as ever and better models would be on the horizon. Pebble figured they could cut prices and add a few more apps to steal sales from AppleWatch and everything would be just fine for the company. No doubt a number of analysts agreed with Pebble and they happily waited for AppleWatch sales to collapse into a heap.

    Anyway, that’s old news. This is nearly the end of another year, December 2016, and the Pebble company is the only thing that’s getting sold by Pebble. Apple still seems to be stumbling along despite all the doom and gloom the company faces on a daily basis. Everyone seems to be certain AppleWatch sales are going to be a disaster, so it’s only a matter of time to confirm AppleWatch never stood a chance of being successful.

    Fitbit buying Pebble is pretty much one struggling smartwatch company buying out a smartwatch company that’s already lost its struggle. I’m not sure how this strategy helps either company. Seeing how Fitbit isn’t going to get any hardware designs or other IP from Pebble, I don’t see why Fitbit is even bothering with this buyout. However, the combining of these two companies is supposed to hurt future AppleWatch sales and the news media seems to be rather positive about it. Anything that hurts Apple seems to elicit plenty of glee for reasons I don’t quite understand. I don’t see it as a good thing for any company to fail because it’s usually the base employee who gets hurt the most.

    1. Pebble could have been killed by Apple at any time by reducing the price of entry.

      It may still have to reduce the price of entry to gain a critical mass that sees mass adoption. Currently its geek niche.

  3. not sure that there’s blood on Apple Watch’s hands, or if Pebble died for largely-unrelated reasons. I tried and returned an Apple Watch in favor of the Pebble Time Steel. I had already pre-ordered a Time 2 and would have paid 50% more if that had been the price.

    I don’t know what I’ll do after my current Pebble dies. I don’t love the AW, so I’m hoping a more Pebble-like option arises in the coming year (either a slimmer AW with a longer battery life—not likely) or a Fitbit-branded watch powered by Pebble tech. I’m not holding my breath…

  4. Apple Watch has blood on its hands? Only by way of standing close while Pebble blew its own brains out.

    I am here to tell you Pebble committed suicide by forcing customers like me into the arms of Apple. It was painfully obvious the Apple version of their software was never, ever going to be at par with the Android software. With each passing ‘update’ more and more functionality broke. The situation devolved to the point I had to re-pair my Pebble every time I walked outside bluetooth range of my iPhone.

    That is not the hallmark of a company that wants to earn my business; that is the hallmark of a company intent on committing suicide. The end was inevitable and it was wholly predictable. I crafted two impassioned letters begging Pebble to use some resources to at least fix the problems with the iPhone software. The first one was met with a large round of indifference, the last invited me – in so many words – to not let the door hit me in the ass on the way out.

    I agree that some sort of shareholder/stakeholder/whatever suit should be brought against Eric Migicovsky. His public declarations that Pebble could compete against Apple, at a time when he was doing his damndest to shed Apple customers, are scandalous. Someone connected with Pebble should have called him on this delusion long before the company self-destructed. That whoever did not should be actionable by way of breech of fiduciary responsibilities.

    Apple has blood on their hands? Oh, please! They are mere drops compared to the torrents flowing from the hands of Migicovsky.

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