Pebble, the brand which introduced the concept of the modern smartwatch to many people, is shutting down, and will be selling its core assets to Fitbit. Fitbit has confirmed its acquisition of specific Pebble assets, “including key personnel and intellectual property related to software and firmware development. The acquisition excludes the company’s hardware products.”
The asset acquisition also excludes Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky who, according to Bloomberg, is said to be joining Y Combinator. Bloomberg reports the acquisition of Pebble assets cost Fitbit less than $40 million, and the company has sent job offers to 40 percent of Pebble’s staff.
Both companies know plenty about wearable technology. Fitbit has recently launched a smartwatch of its own, the love-it-or-hate-it Blaze. For its part, Pebble doesn’t, or didn’t, just make hardware. Its watches run PebbleOS, an operating system which is compatible with both iOS and Android, and it operated a packed app store featuring a massive choice of watch faces, apps, and games.
Fitbit hasn’t detailed its exact plans for its new assets from Pebble, but the company says the acquisition will help cement its leadership in the wearables market.
“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,” said James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit, in the announcement.
Pebble owners’ devices will continue to work as normal, but the company does say “Pebble functionality or service quality may be reduced in the future.” Kickstarter backers will receive a full refund within four to eight weeks, and the same goes for any orders from Pebble’s website. Warranty support is also no longer available for Pebble watches.