The tech company will purchase Fossil’s smartwatch technology in a multi-million-dollar deal expected to close this month.

By Emily Pidgeon


Posted on January 18, 2019

Google will purchase intellectual property behind a new smartwatch technology being developed by Fossil Group in a US$40 million deal.

A number of the American fashion company’s research and development team will sign on with Google in an agreement expected to close this month.

The deal highlights the internet giant’s dedication to the smartwatch category and bringing new and evolved technology to “on-the-go consumers”.

Smartwatches have become Fossil’s fastest growing category in which it developed and launched several devices across the Group’s 14 brands.

“The addition of Fossil Group’s technology and team to Google demonstrates our commitment to the wearables industry by enabling diverse portfolio of smartwatches and supporting the ever-evolving needs of the vitality-seeking, on-the-go consumer,” said Stacey Burr, Wear OS by Google Vice President of Product Management.

“Wearables, built for wellness, simplicity, personalisation and helpfulness, have the opportunity to improve lives by bringing users the information and insights they need quickly, at a glance.”

Despite an undisclosed number of the US fashion houses’ researchers moving to Google, Fossil Group retains more than 200 R&D team members to focus on its own innovation and product development.

Fossil Group has experienced significant success in its wearable business by focusing on product design and development informed by our strong understanding of consumers’ needs and style preferences,” Fossil Group Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Digital Officer Greg McKelvey said.

“We’ve built and advanced a technology that has the potential to improve upon our existing platform of smartwatches. Together with Google, our innovation partner, we’ll continue to unlock growth in wearables.”

The collaboration will see the launch of a “new product that’s not yet hit the market” based on evolved technology following Fossil’s Misfit acquisition, Wareable reported.

“It’s based on something out of our timeline, it’s new-to-the-market technology and we think it’s a product that has features and benefits that aren’t in the category today,” McKelvey told the publication.

The joint venture means innovative technology developed by Fossil’s researchers will be brought to the market by the Group for Google to expand across the industry.

“It’s based on something out of our timeline, it’s new-to-the-market technology and we think it’s a product that has features and benefits that aren’t in the category today,” – Greg McKelvey

The US fashion house, whose shares have risen almost 11% after the multi-million-deal was announced Thursday, is among the most active makers of Wear OS devices.

Specificities around the purchase remain murky with industry experts speculating it may result in more features for Google’s Wear OS smartwatches or it could mean Fossil assists the internet giant with further developing Wear OS software.

Apple continues to dominate the smartwatch industry with competitors Fitbit and Samsung taking alternate software routes. Google has struggled to differentiate itself on the populated market, prompting the investment into Fossil’s intellectual property.

The US$40 million deal mirrors Google’s previous acquisition of HTC in September 2017. The 20-year-old company closed the US$1.1 billion transaction in January 2018 where it acquired most of HTC’s smartphone design division.

More than 2,000 HTC engineers reportedly joined Google in a move representing its mission to overhaul software.