Google and watch marker Fossil on Thursday announced that Google would be acquiring smartwatch-related intellectual property and personnel from Fossil. The technology is currently under development and will only be used for future products. The acquisition means that Google now has IP and developers that will help the company more directly address the smartwatch and broader wearables industries..

Under the terms of the deal, Google will pay Fossil $40 million for IP that, unusually enough, has yet to see the light of day. As part of the agreement, some of Fossil’s engineers will also join Google to support the IP transfer, but the watch company will retain more than 200 R&D staff members to continue developing products and technologies.

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

The technology in question was developed on top of technologies that Fossil received as a result of its 260 million dollar Misfit take over in 2015. Fossil has said that the IP can enable features not supported by smartwatches today, but naturally did not elaborate about the nature of the tech or its ETA.

“We saw some technology that they were developing that we thought could be brought out in a more expansive way if Google had that technology, and was not only able to continue to use it with Fossil but bring it to other partners in the ecosystem,” said Ms. Burr in an interview with Wareable.

Tech companies tend not to share exclusive technologies with each other unless they know that they need support of the whole industry in order to make these technologies take off, or just need someone to share the heavy lifting on their project. Since Fossil uses Google’s Wear OS for its existing smartwatches, it certainly needed to add support for its upcoming tech to the platform. According to the two companies, as they worked together they concluded that they both could benefit if the IP was made available to other partners in the Wear OS ecosystem.

Fossil’s current plan is to incorporate the tech into its own smartwatches (thus still enjoying some exclusive benefits) while Google expands it across the industry over the longer term. For their part, the IP will enable Google to further improve its Wear OS platform and keep it competitive with Apple’s WatchOS, Samsung's Tizen, and other ecosystems. As an added bonus, Fossil will get $40 million, a significant amount of money for a company that has been either losing money or earning miniscule profits for quite some time now.

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Sources: Fossil Group, Wareable

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  • shabby - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    "Google demonstrates our commitment"
    Lololol don't think Google knows what commitment means.
  • PeachNCream - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    Smartwatches are still a thing?
  • BenSkywalker - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    If you figure for an asp of $300 based on the sales figures I'm finding it looks like smart watches are in the $10 billion annual range for revenue and growing much faster then the broader technology markets. Apple has moved from a dominant market share to the 35% range which indicates that the broader market is adopting the technology and not just Apple people buying everything Apple.
  • PeachNCream - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    Selling one more now than zero means infinity sales growth, but slants the reality of limited niche appeal and a lack of long-term customer loyalty under the guise of huge growth percentages. They're a dead end. Alphabet has to compete to keep up with current fads, but these little guys are DOA when it comes to anything longer duration. We are seeing a fad blip and nothing more.
  • megadirk - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    @PeachNCream I'm not sure this site is for you as it seems you aren't a fan of new developments in technology, or the fact that those things cost money (the latter because of posts you've made in other articles).

    Example: PeachNCream "Heh, $100 USD for a 1.5kg cooler. I'll stick to OEM-boxed CPUs that don't need that sort of absurdity. The CPU and freebie cooler combined would cost less than this dumb thing."
  • PeachNCream - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    If the site were exclusive based on interests, then the owners would likely close it off and then interview readers before allowing access. It isn't so it may be incorrect to say Anandtech is or isn't for a specific person.
  • Samus - Saturday, January 19, 2019 - link

    Some investors believe they are the most profitable product Apple has, from a margin perspective!
  • Lord of the Bored - Saturday, January 19, 2019 - link

    Yup. Unfortunately, so are circle-screens.
    Holdin' on to my ZenWatch 2 until it craps out and I'm forced to get something round.
  • MarcusMo - Saturday, January 19, 2019 - link

    Oh yes they are! The latest apple watch 4 is really good.
  • sorten - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    Still trying? Their whole effort feels similar to Microsoft's attempt to get back into the mobile market.

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