Several Changes at Fitbit: What Google Has in Tow For The Brand?

The hardware division of Google is facing significant changes as the company confirms layoffs affecting hundreds of workers. This affects particularly its augmented reality division and subsequently general Google staff. Additionally, Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman, along with other leaders from Fitbit, are reported to be leaving the company entirely.

In a conversation with 9to5Google, Google stated the following:

“A few hundred roles are being eliminated in DSPA with the majority of impacts on the 1P AR Hardware team. While we are making changes to our 1P AR hardware team, Google continues to be deeply committed to other AR initiatives, such as AR experiences in our products, and product partnerships.”

On the other hand, the spokesperson for Google Courtenay Mencini has officially confirmed the numbers to The Verge.

Many Changes Reaching Fitbit

Google Fitbit

It seems like Fitbit, the company acquired by Google in 2019, is facing major changes. Reports indicate that hundreds of workers, particularly in the augmented reality division, are being laid off. Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman, along with other Fitbit leaders, are reported to be leaving the company entirely. This development raises questions about the future of Fitbit and Google’s AR efforts.

Last year, concerns were raised about Google’s management of Fitbit, with issues such as the removal of features, extended outages, and a shift towards promoting the Pixel Watch over Fitbit products. The removal of Fitbit products from multiple countries also fueled speculation about Fitbit’s uncertain future. Although Google reassures its commitment to Fitbit users and health innovation, the departure of key leaders raises doubts about the company’s direction.

Leaders in Google AR Department Departing? Google Fitbit

In addition to the Fitbit situation, Google’s AR endeavors seem to be in flux. The departure of key figures, including the head of AR, Clay Bavor, and the reported abandonment of Project Iris augmented reality glasses, suggest challenges in Google’s AR hardware development. The impact is significant, particularly on the 1P AR hardware team, indicating a reduced focus on developing independent AR glasses. Despite collaborations with Samsung and Qualcomm on AR headsets, doubts persist about Google’s continued efforts in AR hardware development. Google has not provided clear answers to questions regarding its AR hardware plans or the reported departure of Fitbit leaders.

As we’ve said, we’re responsibly investing in our company’s biggest priorities and the significant opportunities ahead. To best position us for these opportunities, throughout the second half of 2023, a number of our teams made changes to become more efficient and work better, and to align their resources to their biggest product priorities. Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally. We’re continuing to support any impacted employees as they look for new roles here at Google and beyond.

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Also helpful to know / include that impacted employees will all be able to apply for open roles across Google. We’re also supporting all impacted employees, in line with local requirements, including time to explore different roles at Google and elsewhere, outplacement services, and severance offerings.

Fitbit’s Rocky Road Under Google: Acquisitions, Resignations, and Leadership Turmoil Google Fitbit

Fitbit, once a pioneer in the wearables market, has found itself in choppy waters lately. After Google acquired it in 2019 for a cool $2.1 billion, the company has faced a series of leadership changes. Resignations, and layoffs, raising concerns about its future under the tech giant.

A Promising Acquisition: Google’s Big Bet on Wearables

Google’s acquisition of Fitbit was seen as a strategic move to bolster its presence in the burgeoning wearables market. Fitbit, with its established brand and loyal user base, seemed like the perfect fit for Google’s ambitions in the health and fitness space. The acquisition was expected to leverage Google’s vast resources and technological expertise to further develop Fitbit’s offerings and expand its reach.

Leadership Shakeup: Exits and Turmoil

However, the integration of Fitbit into Google hasn’t been without its bumps. In recent months, Fitbit has seen a string of high-profile departures, including the resignation of its CEO, James Park, in December 2022. Other key executives, like Fitbit co-founder Eric Friedman and Chief Marketing Officer Susie McEvoy, have also stepped down, leaving a void in the company’s leadership.

Adding to the concerns, Fitbit has also implemented layoffs affecting various departments across the company. While the exact number of employees impacted remains unclear, reports suggest the cuts could be significant. These developments have fueled speculation about Google’s long-term plans for Fitbit and whether the company’s identity and focus might be changing under its new ownership.

Challenges and Uncertainties for Fitbit

The leadership departures and layoffs raise several questions about Fitbit’s future. Will Google fully integrate Fitbit into its own wearables offerings, or will the Fitbit brand remain distinct? How will the company address the concerns of employees and users amidst the ongoing changes?

Looking Ahead: Can Fitbit Navigate the Choppy Waters?

Despite the challenges, Fitbit still has a strong foundation, a loyal user base, and a valuable trove of health and fitness data. Google’s resources and expertise could prove invaluable in helping Fitbit adapt and thrive in the evolving wearables landscape. However, navigating the current leadership turmoil and addressing user concerns will be crucial for Fitbit to regain its footing and secure its future under Google’s wing.

Fitbit’s journey under Google is still unfolding, and we are waiting to see whether the company can overcome its current turbulence and emerge stronger. Only time will tell if Google’s big bet on wearables will pay off. Or if Fitbit will lose its unique identity in the tech giant’s vast ecosystem. It’s important to note that the situation is still developing, and more information may come to light in the coming weeks and months.

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