Fitbit is reportedly in negotiations to buy troubled smartwatch maker Pebble, and a number of Pebble users aren’t happy about that possibility. Fitbit is said to be offering around $40 million, in a deal which could see the pioneering smartwatch brand disappear forever.
Pebble was one of the first to enter the smartwatch market, breaking records on crowdfunding site Kickstarter during three successful funding rounds.
Juan Espinosa, who owns three Pebble devices, told the BBC: “Pebble was a start-up company that was made by the users and for the users. It was open in the sense that you could tweak the system basically in whichever way you wanted. You could create your own faces and apps unlike the others.”
Espinosa says he’ll switch to an Apple Watch if the Fitbit deal goes through, saying “that is the most complete smartwatch”.
“All the others are either running Android, which I’m not a fan of, or are not actually smartwatches but fitness devices,” he added.
Fitbit is interested in acquiring the troubled smartwatch maker’s assets, including its software and other intellectual property. Pebble has run into financial troubles over the past year, and the company has been looking for a buyer. It was forced to layoff 25% of its staff in March.
An IDC report indicates the overall smartwatch market declined 51.6% in Q3 2016, and the lion’s share of that category is taken by Apple with its popular Apple Watch.
Twitter and Reddit users also took to the net to mourn the possible death of their beloved smartwatch.
One said: “What a stupid thing to do… There’s no other watch like the Pebble. I loved the openness of the developer community, how it was so easy to develop apps and watchfaces.
“Only to be crushed in an instant by some big company who doesn’t want competition. So pathetic.”
But Chris Anderson, another user and the chief executive of robotics firm 3DR, tweeted: “The Pebble team should be really proud of what they accomplished. I love my watch and am delighted they’ve found a good home at Fitbit.”
Fitbit shares rose 2% on Thursday, suggesting investors are cautiously optimistic about a Pebble deal. However, the firm’s shares are down 71% so far this year, due to concerns about the Fitbit Blaze and an underwhelming reaction to the company’s third quarter results.