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Fitbit Acquires Pebble’s Software Assets and IP

Fitbit, Inc. 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.

Pebble Technology Corporation which had raised $10.3 million through a Kickstarter campaign announced yesterday that the company would be shut down and would no longer manufacture or continue support for any devices, nor honor any existing warranties.

The purchase excludes Pebble’s hardware, Fitbit said in a statement on Wednesday. The deal is mainly about hiring the startup’s software engineers and testers, and getting intellectual property such as the Pebble watch’s operating system, watch apps, and cloud services, people familiar with the matter said earlier.

While Fitbit didn’t disclose terms of the acquisition, the price is less than $40 million.

Pebble had announced three new watches in May, 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. The Time 2 and Pebble Core will be canceled and refunds will be issued to Kickstarter backers, one of the people said.

The acquisition will also accelerate the development of customized solutions and third party applications for Fitbit Group Health customers and partners, including researchers, employers, and providers.

“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. “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.”

With Android usage accounting for nearly 90 percent of smartphone OS market share globally, the ability to deliver consumers cross-platform devices is a key competitive advantage in the wearables category. As an early entrant in the category, Pebble was a trailblazer of the largest open, agnostic connected device operating system, which complements Fitbit’s broad cross-platform compatibility with more than 200 iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices.

Sidharth Shekhar: