Google is buying Fitbit and the reasons why are both simple and complicated. It’s the kind of big acquisition Google has done before (more money than YouTube, less than Nest or DoubleClick), but this one seems to have struck a particular nerve. My Twitter replies are currently filled with Fitbit customers promising to go buy Apple Watches right now. Whatever happens in the immediate aftermath, Google is going to have a big new team, a big new set of wary users, and a lot of big organizational issues to figure out.
In the short term, Google is clearly aware that Fitbit customers are going to be a little spooked. The company was sure to note that it will give those users “the choice to review, move, or delete their data” in the announcement post. Whether that will calm everybody down is a different matter.
But let’s start by answering the big, seemingly simple question: why did Google want to buy Fitbit?
It’s easy to overthink this one. In fact, I engaged in that kind of overthinking on Tuesday when the acquisition was only a rumor. The general reasoning is this: Google has a serious hole when it comes to wearables and it hasn’t been able to develop its own way out of it, so it needs to buy its way out. Fitbit is the best (some might say the only) available company that could fit the bill.
In short, Google wants to build smartwatch and fitness band hardware and Fitbit helps them do that more quickly. Badda bing, badda boom.
Simple, but not that simple. Is Google buying Fitbit to try to shore up Wear OS’s many issues? What could Fitbit provide that Wear OS really needs? You can spin yourself ‘round the bend worrying about it — and eventually Google will have to do just that. But in the short term, I think Google’s reasoning really is what it says: hardware chief Rick Osterloh wants to be able to make wearables inside Google’s hardware division, so he bought himself a wearables hardware company for $2.1 billion….[Read More]
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