Google Wants to Acquire Fitbit

Posted on October 28, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Fitbit, Google, Wearables with 32 Comments

Reuters reports that Google is in talks to acquire struggling wearables maker Fitbit, and has made an offer to do so.

There are few details at the time of this writing, but CNBC reports that Fitbit’s stock was halted after skyrocketing more than 18 percent today when news of the talks was broadcast.

Fitbit said a month ago that it was exploring a sale after its efforts to catch up with Apple in the smartwatch market stalled. Google was named at the time as one of the possible suitors, and that matchup makes sense: Google’s own smartwatch effort, called WearOS (originally Android Wear), has likewise stalled in the market.

Fitbit still has a dominant position in the fitness wearables market, but its Versa smartwatch line, while nicely designed, lacks some advanced features that the more expensive Apple Watch offers. Its latest model, the low-cost Versa Lite, has sold poorly.

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Comments (32)

32 responses to “Google Wants to Acquire Fitbit”

  1. Avatar

    Omega Ra

    This could be interesting. Fitbit long battery life expertise and Google engineering...I'm intrigued.

  2. Avatar

    Skolvikings

    I just want a nice wearable that has a battery that lasts for days, has some silent alarms, tracks my steps and stairs and heart rate, and says good job when I've walked the length of the Nile. I really don't need anything else and I hope whoever buys Fitbit doesn't ruin that.

  3. Avatar

    Rob_Wade

    Yikes. My wife is NOT going to be happy if that happens. She loves her Charge 2. But she hates Google as much as I do. She will likely look for another solution after her Charge 2 dies if Google acquires Fitbit.

  4. Avatar

    ronh

    I switched to Garmin last Xmas and have been very happy. I had a MS Band 2 and then a Blaze.

  5. Avatar

    rmlounsbury

    Well, Apple Watch just became a lot more interesting to me.


    Not sure what I think about Google buying Fitbit. It seems as though Fitbit won't survive without someone like Google or Microsoft coming a long and buying them. But, I'd hate to see Fitbit's products and their platform go away only to be replaced by Wear OS which has been not a great so far.


    Maybe Fitbit can fix Wear OS and give Google a great smartwatch platform + fitness tracking capabilities. Or, they will just be consumed by the big G and not much changes.

    • Avatar

      jwpear

      In reply to rmlounsbury:

      Same here. I was looking to replace my Blaze by year end and had been leaning heavily toward another Fitbit. With this news, I will reevaluate. I'm no fan of Google and I'm not convinced Google would be good for Fitbit. But it was pretty clear Fitbit wasn't on track to compete with Apple. I'd love to see Amazon buy Fitbit. I'd support that.


      I've been monitoring how Apple Watch evolves and feel it gets a little better with each iteration. I've been holding out for them to add sleep tracking and ramp up battery life. Maybe I'll pick up a used Watch to try things out without jumping in too deep.

  6. Avatar

    SenorGravy

    In the future...I guess everything will be owned by Google, Amazon or Apple. Pick your poison. LOL

  7. Avatar

    DaveHelps

    I would be willing to consider actually exercising if I could use my Apple Watch with the Fitbit app.

  8. Avatar

    Yaggs

    Fitbit bought Pebble and trashed everything that was good about them... The Fitbit Versa is a terrible "Smartwatch"... it is terribly slow, the notifications hardly work, transferring updates and files to the watch takes forever.


    Just tried the new Misfit Vapor X... Wear OS is a terrible. This watch has the 3100 chipset and doesn't perform any better at all than the Tic Watch e I had before this. There isn't even a true app store you can browse through on your phone with Wear OS watchfaces and software. It's crazy how bad Wear OS is. The battery on my Misfit right out of the box without doing any workout tracking or GPS activities died within 7 hours. Even if there is some tweaking needed to fix that it is just bad. Don't have those kinds of problems with the Apple watch... it just kinda works... that's why people like it.


    I am moving on to a Galaxy Watch Active 2... Microsoft even just released Outlook for the Galaxy watch. This watch is sooo much better than any other wearable available for android right now. Tizen runs fine on it... operation is smooth and all the built in stuff works fine... and the battery lasts for about 2 days without any fiddling... oh and there is actually a store to browse through to look at watchfaces, etc.


    It's crazy how bad Wear OS is... and Fitbit is bad enough already... don't see any good coming out Google buying them.

  9. Avatar

    Stooks

    They want to kill it faster :)

  10. Avatar

    j_c

    I’ve owned three Fitbits over the years. They all proved to be cheaply made, flawed by design when it comes to charging and prone to malfunction.


    I have also been burned repeatedly by Google’s lack of focus on their own software, services, hardware and their inability to maintain or innovate off of acquisitions.


    Sounds like a match made in hell.

  11. Avatar

    MikeGalos

    Well, if Google buys Fitbit I'll stop using my Charge 3 before the acquisition and switch to a platform that doesn't make a living selling my personal information. And this also means I'm holding off on replacing my Fitbit scale that died last month.

  12. Avatar

    Chris_Kez

    It seems inevitable that Google or Amazon will swoop in, but it would be a shame if yet another independent company in the tech space is gobbled up by one of the big players. There's already too much consolidation going on.

    • Avatar

      red.radar

      In reply to Chris_Kez:


      Most likely a business model issue. Fitbit is trying to sell commodity grade hardware and up-sell people with add on services. Google can make it work because they can package up the personal data and offer it to their ad-buying customers.


      Apple is trying to sell a premium device that has margin and can be profitable on its own without services. ... but.... we really don't know about the profitability of the apple watch since its not reported clearly. We can only assume because Apple isn't in the business of loss leaders.




  13. Avatar

    tboggs13

    I really don't understand why Microsoft left this market. Many companies have wellness initiatives that utilize cloud based solutions and hardware to motivate employees to get fit. This is something they could easily have rolled up into Microsoft 365 in both the Enterprise and Consumer product lines. They could even embrace all third party hardware while having a better market for their own devices.

  14. Avatar

    bassoprofundo

    It's interesting enough, but I don't see how this fixes the "lack of a decent chipset" problem plaguing Wear OS watches right now OR the "OS-so-rudimentary-it-does-nothing-but-health-basics-well" problem plaguing Fitbit. It also doesn't fix Google's somewhat bipolar commitment to its own platform. It would give Google the great underlying fitness platform of Fitbit, and it'd save Fitbit from bankruptcy. That's all the good I see here.


    Take all of this plus the amount of time, energy, and money spent integrating, all the while with a customer base that is suffering with beta quality software at best and/or flat out giving up, and it seems like a potential disaster to me.

  15. Avatar

    Pierre Masse

    That's a good news for those who are on Google's ecosystem. It means that they are ready to put some effort to improve in wearables. That was not very apparent until now.

  16. Avatar

    glenn8878

    With how Google messed up Nest, they are likely to mess up Fitbit. Users should stop buying it. Fitbit doesn't need an Android makeover. It doesn't need Google integration. Users will compromise their privacy and get lots of ads. If Google couldn't get their own watch off the ground, they won't succeed with Fitbit. Except for Apple, wearables are loss leaders. Google should just keep using their war chest to support them, but not expect them to be profitable.

  17. Avatar

    JacobTheDev

    Very curious to see how this will affect Wear OS. Could be the death of it, or a major boon, depending on how Google approaches future devices.

  18. Avatar

    Randall Lewis

    I understand Fitbit's need for a cash infusion and a strong support system in dealing with Apple, but I have hoped Amazon would be the solution there. Microsoft should buy them, but won't. As a Fitbit user since 2014, I will switch to another product as well. I will not trust Google with my health information.

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