Google and watch giant Fossil announced that Google would be acquiring smartwatch-related intellectual property and personnel from Fossil. The Fossil Group is currently the primary manufacturer of Wear OS devices with 14 different fashion brands leveraging the same underlying technology. The technology is currently under development and will only be used for future products. The acquisition means that Google now has IP and developers that will help the company more directly address the smartwatch and broader wearables industries.
Under the terms of the deal, Google will pay Fossil a whooping $40 million for IP that, unusually enough, has yet to see the light of day. As part of the agreement, some of Fossil’s engineers will also join Google to support the IP transfer, but the watch company will retain more than 200 R&D staff members to continue developing products and technologies.
According to Wareable, Google is specifically acquiring a “new product innovation that’s not yet hit the market.” This technology originated from an acquisition of Misfit in 2015, with Fossil having since developed and “evolved” it. No details were provided, but it’s claimed to allow “features and benefits that aren’t in the category today.”
Usually, tech companies tend not to share exclusive technologies with each other unless they know that they need support of the whole industry in order to make these technologies take off, or just need someone to share the heavy lifting on their project. Since Fossil uses Google’s Wear OS for its existing smartwatches, it certainly needed to add support for its upcoming tech to the platform. According to the two companies, it would be a win-win situation and concluded that they both could benefit if the IP was made available to other partners in the Wear OS ecosystem.
With Apple’s Watch-series dominating the market, and Google still trying to keep up with their Pixel range of products, this move is surprisingly thoughtful! Fossil’s plan is to incorporate this tech into its own chain of smartwatches while Google expands it across the industry over the longer term. For their part, the IP will enable Google to further improve its Wear OS platform and keep it competitive with Apple’s WatchOS, Samsung’s Tizen, and other ecosystems. As an added bonus, Fossil will get $40 million, a significant amount of money for a company that has been earning minuscule profits for a long time now!
Could this finally mean Google will launch a premium ‘Pixel’ range of smartwatches? Or, is this a move to save Google’s WearOS?
Stay tuned for more updates on this folks! Let me know what you guys think.