Fitbit attempted to acquire rival Jawbone last month to fight Apple Watch, report claims

Posted:
in Apple Watch
Jawbone could have become the latest acquisition of main rival Fitbit, with a report alleging the two fitness wearable competitors discussed a possible sale of assets at the end of last year, talks that ultimately broke down over a low-ball offer.




In December, Fitbit approached Jawbone with an interest in acquiring the struggling manufacturer's assets, including its intellectual property, according to sources of the Financial Times. If agreed, the sale would have also meant any outstanding litigation between the two companies would be settled.

While preliminary, it is alleged the talks between the two stalled quickly, after Fitbit suggested a price. At the start of 2016, Jawbone was valued at an estimated $1.5 billion, and Fitbit is said to have offered only a "tiny fraction" of the figure, a number Jawbone refused.

Jawbone's troubled financial situation could be attributed to the ongoing legal battles between the two companies. The costly legal activity includes claims of patent infringement, as well as the allegation that Fitbit stole company secrets from Jawbone by smuggling data while poaching employees, an accusation cleared by an International Trade Commission Judge.

Reports circulated in mid-2016 that Jawbone had ceased manufacturing its UP wristbands and was attempting to sell its speaker business. Shortly after, it was believed Jawbone was moving away from consumer-grade wearables towards clinical medical devices, and was attempting to get FDA approval in the field.

Pressured by investors, Jawbone's management has tried to find alternative bidders, but has so far failed to find an opportunity. People close to the company claimed in the report that Jawbone is apparently close to getting its funding from a new investor, allowing the company to secure its footing and "remain viable as an independent entity."

While Fitbit couldn't acquire its main rival, that hasn't stopped the wearables producer from going on an acquisitions spree. In December, Fitbit acquired the crowdfunded smartwatch firm Pebble, and in the last week it also bought luxury European wearables startup Vector.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Fitbit is grasping at all straws possible!!
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9
    08150815 Posts: 4member
    Didn't all the wearable maker loudly claim before the apple watch release that they are not afraid of apple and after the apple watch release that they see even more sales than before? So why would there be a need to merge to fight? ..... 
    edited January 2017 radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    0815 said:
    Didn't all the wearable maker loudly claim before the apple watch release that they are not afraid of apple and after the apple watch release that they see even more sales than before? So why would there be a need to merge to fight? ..... 


    Yep.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    tshapitshapi Posts: 344member
    This is just simple business. Fitbit has built a name for itself as a fitness tracker/ wearable. It is only natural from a business point of view for it to make a place for itself in the smartwatch product category. 

    P
  • Reply 5 of 9
    0815 said:
    Didn't all the wearable maker loudly claim before the apple watch release that they are not afraid of apple and after the apple watch release that they see even more sales than before? So why would there be a need to merge to fight? ..... 
    The merger was to help decrease funds and cease litigation as well as gain from Jawbone's Intellectual Patents. 
  • Reply 6 of 9
    In other news, Fitbit acquired Vector Watch (smart watches with 30 day battery life). 
  • Reply 7 of 9
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Does Fitbit integrate with HealthKit? I don't think it did last year, which is why it didn't make the shortlist when I was looking for a health gadget. (The Apple Watch wasn't waterproof at the time). 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,496member
    Apple needs to aggressively push the envelope with the Apple Watch to gain the top seat.

    The wearable/watch market is the ONLY market Apple competes in that is not an already mature market selling a commodity.  With the Watch, they have a foundation that can meet and beat every other product out there -- IF they proceed aggressively both in terms of expanding the hardware capabilities and in software (both in expanding the functionality of their own as well as opening up and supporting third party apps).

    Essentially, the Apple Watch is the Swiss Knife that can do anything.  So, competitors like FitBit will be nibbling around the edges with specialty devices with a limited range of functionality but, what it does it does very well and at a lower price.   The danger for Apple is letting the Watch become a "Jack of all trades but master of none".  It needs to be both a Jack of all Trades as well as the master of most of them.

    I think they can do it -- if they want to...
    edited January 2017 watto_cobra
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