Google in talks to acquire Fitbit; tech giant’s other acquisitions in 2019

Google in talks to acquire Fitbit; tech giant’s other acquisitions in 2019
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Reuters
29 Oct, 2019

Amid a tough competition from technology major Apple, US-based wearable device maker Fitbit is reportedly looking to join forces with Google to strengthen its stand in the industry.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has made an offer to acquire Fitbit. The deal, if it goes through, will help Google enter the crowded market of fitness trackers and smartwatches, Reuters reports. 

Google has earlier worked with companies such as Apple and Samsung Electronics to develop smartphones. The company, however,  is yet to expand into the wearable devices market. 

Fitbit has been around for about 12 years and is currently facing an uphill battle to stay in the industry. It faces threats from two sources; the Apple watch in the premium category and other Chinese companies that offer cheap fitness bands. 

For years, media reports have speculated that Google is developing a smartwatch on Pixel lines, however, there is no official confirmation from the tech giant yet.  Fitbit’s large user base in the wearable devices market has apparently attracted Google’s attention. 

The deal is still being negotiated and there have been no updates from both of the firms yet.

Acquiring Fitbit could be a game-changer for Google as the huge amount of health data by Fitbit could be analysed and run through its algorithms to offer health insights and suggestions. 

Here are the last four acquisitions by the tech giant Google in 2019:

Mobile learning app Socratic - August 2019

Google silently acquired the US-based learning app Socratic in 2018. However, the tech giant revealed and re-launched their new product in 2019 as part of their Google for Education Initiative.

Socratic is a forum like Quora, where students can ask questions related to education content. Google launched the tool in August 2019 as an artificial intelligence-powered mobile learning app. The app has so far been downloaded more than 5 million times on the Android platform.

The latest update of Socratic works like a custom search engine just for homework questions. It allows students to take a photo of a question, and returns with top match, followed by explainers, related YouTube videos, a section on Q&A and related web links that help them to solve the problem.

The app also supports speech recognition so users can also ask questions via voice. However, the company has not revealed other details of the deal.

 Enterprise cloud storage firm Elastifile - July 2019

In order to expand its Cloud Storage offering, Google acquired Tel-Aviv based Elastifile, a provider of scalable, enterprise file storage in the cloud. The deal is expected to strengthen its cloud business against market leaders like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft.

Israel-based Elastifile founded in 2013 already delivers a fully native Google Cloud service and addresses file storage for enterprise-grade applications running at scale in the cloud. It provides customers with elastically scale-out or scale-in storage capacity on-demand. 

Google had 7.6% of the cloud market share at the end of 2018 compared with 13.7% for Microsoft and 32% for Amazon, according to a report from market analysis firm Canalys. 

The companies have not disclosed the details of the deal. Israeli media reports speculate the acquisition was at around $200 million. 

Data Analytics firm Looker - June 2019

The tech giant reportedly paid a whopping $2.6bn in cash to acquire California-based Data Analytics Firm Looker.

The deal enabled Google’s in-house data analysis tools such as Big Query with those built by Looker, which will offer customers a complete analytics solution from ingesting data to visualising results and integrating data and insights into their daily workflows.

Google has been keen on taking an enterprise-focused approach.

These acquisitions show that the software giant is ready to take on the big players like Amazon and Microsoft.

Looker has, in a short span of seven years,  added 1,600 customers and cross a mark of $100 million revenue. The growth of the company was calculated at 70 % year on year. Even Microsoft and Amazon had initially shown their keen interest in acquiring the firm.

Also, Google and Looker had a strong existing partnership and around 350 common customers at the time of acquisition.

Cloud migration platform Alooma - February 2019

The acquisition of the cloud migration platform Alooma was a game-changer for Google Cloud. Alooma helps enterprise companies to streamline database migration in the cloud with an innovative data pipeline tool that enables them to move their data from multiple sources to a single data warehouse.

“The addition of Alooma, subject to closing conditions, is a natural fit that allows us to offer customers a streamlined, automated migration experience to Google Cloud, and give them access to our full range of database services, from managed open source database offerings to solutions like Cloud Spanner and Cloud Bigtable,” Google had said in a blog post.