Pebble Smartwatch Maker Calls It Quits, proving that being first doesn’t guarantee success

When smartwatch maker Pebble Technology Corp. went up against Apple and Google last year, industry insiders described it as a battle between David and Goliath.

On Wednesday, David lost.

Pebble, one of the first companies to manufacture smartwatches, announced on its website that it would shut down and sell its software and intellectual property to Fitbit Inc., which also plans to hire some of Pebble's "key personnel."

"Due to various factors, Pebble is no longer able to operate as an independent entity," Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky said in a blog post published Wednesday on the Redwood City, Calif., company's website. "We have made the tough decision to shut down the company and no longer manufacture Pebble devices."

Migicovsky did not explain why Pebble could no longer operate independently, and the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fitbit, the publicly traded fitness tracker firm, confirmed it will snap up Pebble's "key personnel and intellectual property related to software and firmware development," but the acquisition excludes hardware.

The San Francisco company wouldn't disclose the terms of the deal because "the acquisition is not material to Fitbit's financials," a Fitbit spokeswoman said in an email.

Analysts say the acquisition of Pebble's software and engineers will bolster Fitbit's own efforts to compete in the wearables market. Smartwatches like the Apple Watch, which now double as fitness trackers, have also eaten into Fitbit's market share. The fitness tracker company's growth has hit a wall in recent months, with lagging sales and expansion difficulties.

The company lowered its financial forecast for the current financial year in November, which sent its stock plummeting some 30%, to $8.51 a share. The stock is yet to recover, closing at $7.97 on Wednesday.

Fitbit's spokeswoman declined to specify how many Pebble employees would be joining Fitbit, but confirmed that the "majority of Pebble employees in...

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