Pebble officially closes its doors, confirms purchase by Fitbit
Confirming rumors from earlier this week, today Pebble officially stated that the company has been purchased by Fitbit. The smartwatch pioneers at Pebble will immediately halt the production and shipping of all devices.
Pebble came on the scene in 2012 by launching a successful Kickstarter campaigns and creating the Pebble smartwatch, one of the first wearable devices designed to sync with a user’s smartphone to relay notifications, messages, and phone calls. The company immediately gained a large fanbase for its innovative and high-quality product line, which grew to include the Pebble Steel, the Pebble Time, and the Pebble Time Round.
In 2015, watchmaker Citizen offered to purchase Pebble for $740 million, but Pebble declined. Earlier this year, the company ran into financial woes and laid off a large percentage of its workforce. Intel offered to purchase the company for about US $70 million around this time, but Pebble again refused to sell. The sale to Fitbit (made official today) is estimated to total between US $34 and $40 million, but the final amount is currently unknown.
In a blog post on Pebble’s site, founder and CEO Eric Migicovsky expressed that the decision to shutter and sell the company was a difficult one, stating that “Pebble is no longer able to operate as an independent entity. We have made the tough decision to shut down the company and no longer manufacture Pebble devices.” As such, Pebble is no longer taking orders for the Pebble 2 (which began shipping earlier this month) and has killed development on the Pebble Time 2 and Pebble Core that were currently being funded via Kickstarter. Pebble has said that backers will receive full refunds and that current preorders will not be charged, but that no more devices of any kind will be shipped.
Migicovsky said that some employees at Pebble will be taken on by Fitbit, stating “I am happy to announce that many members of Team Pebble will be joining the Fitbit family to continue their work on wearable software platforms. Pebble’s successful approach to third-party wearable development is undeniable, and Fitbit is welcoming our expertise in this space wholeheartedly.”
Pebble devices currently owned by consumers will continue to operate as normal, but Pebble will no longer offer customer support. Warranty support will also no longer be available, and customers can no longer return devices purchased through Pebble’s website. Migicovsky said that “Fitbit will maintain services so that Pebble devices continue to work as normal. Pebble functionality and service may be reduced in the future. We applaud their efforts as we collectively work to streamline this transition for Pebblers everywhere.” Essentially, it’s now up to Fitbit as to whether support for current Pebble devices will continue in the future.
More information can be found on Pebble’s site here.