Apple Watch killed Fitbit

Apple Watch Edition Series 5 with White Ceramic Case and Leather Loop
Apple Watch Edition Series 5 with White Ceramic Case and Leather Loop

Neil Cybart for Above Avalon:

Saying that a company with an agreement to be acquired for $2.1 billion was killed may sound like an exaggeration. Many start-ups aim to one day be “killed” in such fashion. However, Google’s decision to acquire Fitbit amounts to a mercy kill, putting an official end to Fitbit’s implosion at the hands of Apple Watch. In just three years, the Apple Watch turned Fitbit from a household name as the wearables industry leader into a company that will eventually be viewed as an asterisk when the wearables story is retold to future generations…

How did Fitbit go from being considered the wearables leader to viewing a $2.1B acquisition as its best hope for shareholders to recoup any value? What led Fitbit to run out of options as an independent company?

Two words: Apple Watch.

A good argument can be made that Fitbit died a while ago, and the company is merely running on fumes from the dedicated fitness tracker glory days. With Fitbit, Google is acquiring a dying wearables platform.

MacDailyNews Take: Fitbit is Apple Watch roadkill. (And Google is stupid for wasting $2.1 billion on it.)

People shouldn’t underestimate Apple. Doing so has fatal consequences. Ask RIM, Motorola, Palm, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Fitbit is the Palm of the twenty-tens… The only thing keeping Fitbit alive is their legacy user base and sequestering their step data.MacDailyNews, January 25, 2018

17 Comments

  1. Maybe. Fitbit is affordable, purpose-based and has a community, which is more than can be said for Apple Watch.

    Fitbit is an appliance. Apple watch is trying to be something else or something possibly something more, but it’s not a replacement for fitbit.

    Put more simply, it’s safe to say all 27 million Fitbit wearers are using it to track activity/exercise. How many Apple Watch users would say that’s a primary use of their device? I’ll bet less than 27mil.

    1. True, but. Apple Watch is Fibit PLUS a computer/cell phone on your wrist. So, for those who can afford an Apple Watch, it’s a no-brainer. For those who can’t, there will always (probably) be Fitbit. Just like some people own an Android b/c they can’t afford an iPhone, many will buy a Fitbit b/c the Apple Watch is out of their budget. There will likely always be a market for more affordable fitness trackers, but what is NOT likely is there being a profit in it. Google is throwing away their money. I cannot imagine how they could possibly recoup this “investment”. But that’s not my (or your) problem, is it? 😉

      1. After reading the full article, I do believe Fitbit is truly dead. Their real problem is China. You can buy knock-off fitness trackers way less than Fitbit offers, but you can’t get an Apple Watch there, so Apple doesn’t compete with China, but Fitbit does. Oh well. What the article didn’t really answer is the question: why did Google by Fitbit? It just doesn’t look like there’s much in it for Google. Again, not my problem…

        1. Well if you’re Google, recognise that there is a ‘huge’ future market for wearable technology and ‘own’ the Android OS, then you might not like the present fragmented state of the platform’s health/wearable technology headed by Fitbit_going_nowhere…then you might just risk killing the current failing logjam and start again. Their IP will sweeten it a little and the tax write off will do the rest.

      2. Google didn’t pay $2.1B for patents and hardware/software related to Fitbit. They paid $2.1B for all the fitness, diet and other health data associated with it. Probably also the habits associated with participants of communities and competitions.

    2. You could not be more wrong if you tried.

      Apple Watch’s user base likely exceeds 70 million currently with estimates of unit sales in the next twelve months alone topping 35 million.

      “People shouldn’t underestimate Apple. Doing so has fatal consequences.”

    3. The comparison is iPhone. Some people actually make calls on their iPhone. But millions more wouldn’t think of leaving home without it in their pocket. It is a phone but so much more than that.

    4. Why isn’t it a replacement for fitbit? If it is affordability, that is not a reason. Apple watch just does everything better and is not limited to just exercise/activity.

  2. No argument here that Apple Watch has a superset of Fitbit’s features. But Apple watch comes with a massive overhead:

    4x+ cost for the device itself
    Need an iPhone (still a requirement?) – another 7-10x cost

    So for someone who can’t afford the massive cost overhead or doesn’t want the superset of features, Fitbit remains a good choice. My question is – how many Apple Watches are actually replacing a Fitbit?

    1. “4x+ cost for the device itself”

      I just checked walmart.com, which shows the Fitbit Versa smartwatch at $199.00 (on sale for $169.95). The Apple Watch series 3 (brand new) is $199.00 for the 38mm and $229.00 for the 42mm. I fail to see how this is “4x+ cost for the device itself” as you claim for the most comparable models from the two companies. With the series 3 at those prices, it is the single largest reason Fitbit fell into an even steeper decline. The additional features of all series of the Apple Watch were also contributing factors.

      Also, your statement of 7 to 10x the cost to buy an iPhone versus an Android is ludicrous. A brand new iPhone 8 is $449.00. Dividing by 7 (your lowest multiplier) equals $64.14. Can you let all of us know exactly which quality-equivalent Android can be purchased for that price? And by quality-equivalent, I mean that it should not have features such as a plastic body and spyware-enablement right out of the box.

      Why don’t you at least attempt to post a somewhat honest comparison to make your “point” (which is really that you hate Apple)? From now on, every single post under your name will let everyone know for a fact that what you write is irrelevant, incorrect, and delusional.

  3. It’s all about the data/info.
    I wonder if the current users will be able to delete their data before Google takes it over?
    It’s scary what Google will know about someone once they add the highly personal information from FitBit.

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