Google splashes $2.1 billion on Fitbit to fight Apple Watch

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Fitbit
Fitbit will soon be a Google company.
Photo: Fitbit

Google has confirmed plans to buy Fitbit as it looks to step up its fight against Apple Watch. The deal, worth approximately $2.1 billion, will bring new Made by Google wearables to market.

“Together, we aim to spur innovation in wearables and build helpful products to benefit more people around the world,” Google said.

Fitbit has long been a major player in the wearables industry, with more than 100 million devices sold worldwide. But the incredible success of Apple Watch has hurt Fitbit sales in recent years.

Fitbit in July cut its revenue forecast for the year, causing analysts to question its stability. But it won’t have to worry about that when it becomes a Google company.

Google goes big for Fitbit

“Today, we’re announcing that Google has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Fitbit, a leading wearables brand,” reads an announcement published this morning.

“By working closely with Fitbit’s team of experts, and bringing together the best AI, software and hardware, we can help spur innovation in wearables and build products to benefit even more people around the world.”

A statement from Fitbit confirms the deal is worth around $2.1 billion. It is expected to close in 2020, subject to approval by Fitbit’s stockholders and industry regulators.

‘An ideal partner’

“We have built a trusted brand that supports more than 28 million active users around the globe who rely on our products to live a healthier, more active life,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission.”

“With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone. I could not be more excited for what lies ahead.”

Google says it sees the deal as an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS, and to deliver new Made by Google wearables in the future. It will be hoping that with Fitbit’s help, it can better compete with Apple Watch in the wearables space.

Competing with Apple Watch

Fitbit’s most recent competitor to Apple Watch is the $199 Versa 2. It’s the company’s best watch yet, with NFC for mobile payments, local storage for music, and built-in Amazon Alexa.

But the Versa 2 is competing with Apple Watch Series 3 at the same price point. And if you’re an iPhone owner, Apple Watch offers a lot more, like much better integration with iOS.