Fitbit Buyout Will See Pebble's Time 2 and Core Wearables Canceled, Refunds Issued

Late last month we reported that Fitbit was closing in on a deal to acquire smartwatch maker Pebble "for a small amount". Bloomberg has now revealed that the buyout will cost "less than $40 million" and exclusively concerns Pebble's software assets, which are being sought by Fitbit "in a bid to better compete with Apple", according to people familiar with the matter.

pebble_family_wht_crop_web
Yesterday's update on the details of the acquisition comes at a time when the wearables market as a whole appears to be facing increased uncertainty and significant profit hurdles. Earlier this week, in response to IDC market research claiming that Apple Watch's share of the wearables market had fallen to 5 percent, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Watch's sell-through rate had hit a new high. Cook was responding to data which suggested fitness trackers "reigned supreme" in the market, yet Fitbit has seen its own struggles, with the company's shares tumbling 30 percent after announcing mixed third-quarter results and weak guidance for its fourth quarter.

To improve its standing in the market, Fitbit reportedly wants to hire Pebble's software engineers and testers, and get hold of intellectual property including the Pebble OS, watch apps, and cloud services. The $40 million buyout sum does not include Pebble's debt and other obligations, product inventory or server equipment, all of which will be sold off separately, said the people, who asked to remain anonymous.

The news all but confirms the end of the road is in sight for Pebble's entire product line-up, including its most recent smartwatch announcements, the Pebble 2, Time 2, and the Pebble Core. The Pebble 2 has already started shipping to people who funded the startup through crowd-funding site Kickstarter, but the Time 2 and Pebble Core will be canceled and refunds will be issued to Kickstarter backers, said the sources.

Following the buyout, Pebble's offices will be closed and former engineers will relocate to Fitbit offices in San Francisco. There's no word yet as to whether Fitbit will decide to use the Pebble brand in future.

The deal will make Pebble stock held by employees "worthless", said sources, with the money earned on the acquisition going to debt holders, vendors, some equity investors, and Kickstarter refunds for the Time 2 and Pebble Core orders.

Tags: Pebble, Fitbit

Top Rated Comments

niun Avatar
71 months ago
Hehehe, this is hilarious. From day 1 the pebble software was the worst thing about it. It never got much better during the lifetime of the pebble (I had the first pebble and pebble time) - I can't stop laughing that this is what fitbit bought xD xD xD

Not saying this as a disgruntled user btw but as a programmer.
Yeah, I often have a chuckle at loads of people losing their jobs before Xmas. :rolleyes:
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Glassed Silver Avatar
71 months ago
Does this mean existing Pebble watches would stop working? There's plenty of functionalities that depends on their Internet service:

* Installing apps
* Configuring watchfaces
* Voice transcription

Another beautiful example of why I don't trust "the cloud" for anything permanent and opt to avoid it as much as I can.

Not possible with every service or product, but I'm certainly trying not to let myself get screwed too much.

To think some folks in the gaming industry think that gamesaves, vast amounts of computing for a given game and other things should be (partially) relegated to the cloud scares me and that's just one of many examples.

Glassed Silver:ios
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
niun Avatar
71 months ago
Well I'm peeved. Love my Pebble Time and was looking forward to getting a Time2. At leat I'll be getting a refund.
Hope the Pebble folks manage to land on their feet.
Bummer all round really. :(
[doublepost=1481111663][/doublepost]
Good, all things terrible have to disappear eventually.
Like.. Maybe that attitude?

Seriously. Did you mistake Pebble for Aids or something?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
71 months ago
The deal will make Pebble stock held by employees "worthless"
This practice enrages me, and it's why I turn down stock and demand higher pay.

Most companies never have IPOs. The stock never becomes worth anything. You'll almost certainly be better off just taking cash.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rusty2192 Avatar
71 months ago
RIP Pebble. I love my original Pebble. It has sold me on smart watches. The best things about the pebble are the 5 day battery life, cheap, and indestructible. The plastic screen on the original one is a little too soft so a screen protector is a must. I regularly put this thing where no watch has any business, like deep into a tight engine bay of a car. If I had an Apple Watch I'd constantly be afraid of damaging it.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sunapple Avatar
71 months ago
Damn, what a disaster. Sucks for everyone involved, seemed like a group of passionate people.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple's AR/VR Headset Nearing Completion as Board Gets Demo

Thursday May 19, 2022 9:52 am PDT by
Apple last week demonstrated its upcoming AR/VR headset to Apple board members, indicating that the device is in an advanced stage of development and could see a debut in the not too distant future, reports Bloomberg. Apple has also ramped up development of the software that runs on the headset, with that software expected to be called "RealityOS," or rOS for short. Render via designer Ian ...