Pebble, one of the very-first smartwatch makers is now on the verge of extinction. According to Bloomberg, Fitbit is all set to acquire Pebble for a purchase price of less than $40 million.
Pebble, which has been under the burdens of debt for months, will most likely not be able to deliver the Time 2 and Pebble Core post this deal. The Time 2 and Pebble Core was released in May only along with Pebble 2. The refunds for the Pebble 2 will be issued to Kickstarter backers. Moreover, past week Fitbit had sent job offers to 40 percent of Pebble’s staff, majority of which were software engineers.
As per previous reports, the transaction is focused solely upon the acquisition of Pebble’s intellectual property. It includes acquiring Pebble watch’s operating system, watch apps, and cloud services. Further it also aims at hiring Pebble’s engineers and testers. The product inventory along with server equipments and other assets in hold of Pebble would be sold off separately.
The deal will undoubtedly assist Fitbit, who is already sitting at the top spot in the wearable market, to give a tougher competition to Apple. With its Blaze in the market and expansion of resources through Pebble’s acquisition, Apple Inc., will have a major impact. Past quarter Fitbit had added new features (after acquiring assets from payments startup Coin) targeting Apple Pay. The deal between Fitbit and Pebble will surely divert its stock slump of 34 percent in November.
Since, Y Combinator’s hardware head chair seems to be vacant, it is expected that Pebble’s CEO Migicovsky may take up that position. Also the stocks held by Pebble employees will be channelized to pay to debt holders, vendors and Kickstarter refunds. Fitbit though is yet to decide whether to continue the Pebble brand.
Finally, after rejections of past deals like $750 million in 2015 by Citizen and $70 million deal from American chipmaker Intel, Pebble might soon come to its end. Though the deal is closed at a price less than $40 million, it is still far away from clearing debts of Pebble.
[UPDATE / DEC8, 12.30A.M.] : Fitbit acquires Pebble’s intellectual property (IP) related to software and firmware development. Further, it would hire the key personnel of Pebble for accelerated expansion. Though the acquisition rules out Pebble’s hardware products and would continue its services. In near future, the services would be reduced and closed. The deal between the two wearable giants was signed on 6th December as per official press release.
On Pebble’s part, the company would no longer be promoting, manufacturing, or selling any devices. The refunds for its products will end by December 16, 2016 to user credit cards. The receipt of successful refund would be delivered through emails by Kickstarter Backers. Warranty support of Pebble products have also been discontinued, though product grievances would be solved through its support page. Replacement charging cables and other compatible accessories would now be available with third party vendors for Pebble. Moreover, the developers at pebble would now be shaping Fitbit’s developer ecosystem as per the developer blog.