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Google lays off most of the Fitbit division just four years after acquisition



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It is worth noting that Google is seeing layoffs at the company as there is “news of hundreds of layoffs and the departure of key Fitbit leaders”. On this report, Google stated that “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”.

The most immediate impact is felt in Google’s augmented reality (AR) unit, where the majority of the layoffs are taking place. This follows a period of aggressive investment in AR, with products like the Google Glass and the Daydream VR headset failing to capture significant market share. The company has also shuttered its ambitious Project Tango initiative, which aimed to develop AR devices with advanced spatial mapping capabilities.

It is worth noting that Google’s issues have been increased with the departure of Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman, along with other key Fitbit executives. The duo, who joined Google in 2019 following the company’s acquisition of Fitbit, were seen as instrumental in bringing Fitbit’s expertise in wearables to Google’s hardware efforts. Their exit raises questions about the future of Fitbit under Google’s leadership and the company’s commitment to the wearables market.

While the company has not explicitly confirmed any major changes, the layoffs and executive departures hint at a possible scaling back of ambitions in certain areas. Google may be re-evaluating its hardware priorities, focusing on core products like Pixel smartphones and Nest smart home devices while scaling back in less successful areas like AR.

With the looming impact of AI on these divisions for better or worse, it will be interesting to see how the company responds and this adds to the fact that Garmin is coming as a challenge for Fitbit in the wearables department as well and with the exit of its leaders, it will remain a challenge for the company to get back Fitbit on track. However, we can also see that the reason behind Google’s Fitbit acquisition was to fuel its Google Pixel hardware division as they have already launched the first Google Pixel Watch last year.

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