The Fossil Group is currently the primary manufacturer of Wear OS devices with 14 different fashion brands leveraging the same underlying technology. Google today announced that it was acquiring a portion of Fossil’s R&D team and intellectual property related to smartwatches.
The Fossil Group is specifically selling $40 million worth of “intellectual property (IP) related to a smartwatch technology currently under development” to Google, with the deal expected to close this month.
As part of the transaction, a portion of Fossil Group’s research and development (R&D) team currently supporting the transferring IP will join Google. Fossil Group retains more than 200 R&D team members to focus on innovation and product development.
A “portion” of Fossil’s R&D team will be joining Google in a deal that is somewhat reminiscent of Google’s purchase of the related HTC division working on the Pixel lineup. According to Fossil, it will “continue to unlock growth in wearables” and work with Google.
“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.”
Speaking to Wareable, Google is specifically acquiring a “new product innovation that’s not yet hit the market.” This technology originated from an acquisition of Misfit in 2015, with Fossil having since developed and “evolved” it. No details were provided, but it’s claimed to allow “features and benefits that aren’t in the category today.”
Fossil is currently finishing development of the product, and will make it available across it existing lineup over time. According to Google, it purchased the technology so that it could be made available to other partners in the wearable ecosystem.
As Google is just purchasing technology, the Fossil Group will continue to manage the existing brand relationships. Wear OS head Stacey Burr notes that this deal “demonstrates [Google’s] commitment to the wearables industry.”
“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.”