Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pebble's Demise is Inevitable

Pebble 2
During the negotiation about FitBit's possible acquisition of struggling smartwatch maker Pebble, the chatter among the latter team was that they would continue working on their product under the wing of a new, more stable corporate parent.

Fitbit's co-founder James Park even visited Pebble's offices and, following a brief introduction from Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky, talked reassuringly about how excited he was to welcome Pebble into the Fitbit family. That was all a fuss.

But within a month it became apparent that Fitbit’s $40 million acquisition wasn’t a lifeline for Pebble, it was a fire sale.

Choice assets and employees were cherry picked, the rest discarded. Most employees out of Pebble's staff of about 100 were laid off, their stock suddenly worthless.

It was a sad ending for a company once seen as a brilliant example of Silicon Valley chutzpah, a scrappy startup that had forced tech giants like Apple, Samsung, and Google to play catch-up.

But it also capped a tumultuous year of poor sales, supplier problems, failed acquisition talks, and a general lack of consumer interest in smartwatches, according to Business Insider.

"By the time we got into late spring and June of this year, I was like, OK, it does not look good," one Pebble insider said. "I didn't think we were going to make it to 2017. It was dragged out forever."

At a time when Silicon Valley is racing towards the next big thing, from artificial intelligence to self-driving cars, the demise of Pebble is a stark reminder that even the most promising and buzzed about innovations don’t always survive the harsh realities of the marketplace.

According Business Insider, the signs of trouble for Pebble began to appear early on, though they were often ignored among the excitement of a nascent smartwatch business that many believed would be as big as smartphones.

But things started getting hairy in 2015 when Apple, the world's largest technology company, released its long-awaited smartwatch. Apple was so big that it sucked out all the oxygen from Pebble. After that, Pebble's downfall is inevitable.

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