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San Francisco-headquartered activity trackers and wearables maker Fitbit is being acquired by parent company of Google- Alphabet, which is paying $7.35 per share in cash for the company, valuing it at about $2.1 billion.
But the question is: Will the acquisition be profitable for Fitbit and Google, and should Apple be wary of the deal?
Apple, which leads the smartwatch segment globally, hardly has anything to lose due to the deal — at least in the short-term — say experts.
“It is a little premature to say that this puts Google head-to-head with Apple in the wearables segment,” Navkendar Singh, Research Director, IDC India, told IANS.
“Google’s Fitbit acquisition does not put Apple in any threat over the short-term, given that Apple Watches are popular and the first choice for Apple loyalists,” added Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR.
But there is hardly any two opinions about the fact that the deal offers Google an opportunity to give its struggling hardware business a major facelift.
Google Pixel smartphones have failed to impress Indian buyers. This year, the company did not introduce its Pixel 4 device in India.
But in the wearable category, Fitbit has done well in India. Fitbit’s current smartwatch market share in India is around 7 per cent while its smartband market share is around 4 per cent.
“Apple leads the smartwatch segment globally, but the scenario is different in India. Fitbit has done well in India with investments around marketing and channel,” Singh said.
“It has a very loyal and active consumer base in India. To that extent this will help Google, with a ready set of consumers coming in Google’s fold and related data points around their usage and health indicators via Fitbit use,” he added.
It is pertinent to note that Fitbit is the company that makes the Versa 2 smartwatch and the Charge 3 band, which, interestingly, are compatible with both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems (OS), thus, giving it a slight edge over iOS.
According to James Park, Co-founder and CEO at Fitbit, Google is an “ideal partner” to advance their mission.
“With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone,” Park said in a statement.
“We have built a trusted brand that supports more than 28 million active users around the globe who rely on our products to live a healthier and more active life,” Park added.
From Fitbit’s perspective, it does not have much headroom as an independent platform to grow and compete with premium brands, such as Apple, or at the lower spectrum with budget Chinese rivals, suggest industry experts.
“For Fitbit, this acquisition comes at the right time,” said Ram.
The deal is being largely seen as the evolution of Google’s Wear OS.
“The biggest takeaway from Fitbit acquisition by Google would be a better future for Wear OS,” noted Ram.
Fitbit is now working to meet the needs of the budget-conscious Indian buyers, and is mulling to expand its offerings, particularly for those who are just embarking on their fitness journey.
But how Google integrates the Fitbit brand into its fold is also a huge concern since Google does not have a great track record in absorbing some of the acquisitions it made over the years such as Motorola, Nest etc.
“Google would surely like to learn from the data of the Fitbit consumers and subsequently launch a few Fitbit devices on Wear OS, which is not doing very well for the past several quarters as compared to Fitbit OS and Apple Watch. It will be interesting to see how Google handles the integration from the brand, hardware and consumer points of view,” Singh said.
“India being a value conscious market is very different from the other markets. Xiaomi is a leader here with basic wearables domination. Fitbit has been doing well for the past many years in the premium wearables space. It should keep on doing well for the next few quarters,” he added.
The Google-Fitbit transaction is expected to close in 2020, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Fitbit’s stockholders and regulatory approvals. (IANS)
NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.
The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.
Commander Vivek Madhwal, the Indian navy spokesman, said four ships will take part.
The ships will also participate in a multilateral exercise, MALABAR-21, along with the Japanese, Australian and U.S. navies, the statement said.
It said the exercises will enhance coordination with friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and a commitment to freedom of navigation.
"Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations," the statement said.
The U.S., India, Japan and Australia are part of the Quad regional alliance created in response to China's growing economic and military strength. Washington has long viewed New Delhi as a key partner in efforts to blunt increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
India is also in a continuing standoff with China over their disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region. The countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control.
Last year, 20 Indian troops died in a clash with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists in a portion of the disputed border. China said it lost four soldiers.(VOA/HP)
The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).
The UK government also announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, the US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watch list to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government's green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.
Besides India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved.
The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country's epidemiological picture changes, a statement by the UK government said.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we've made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
In order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities, which have gone up, the cost will increase from August 12. Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay and rates remain the same for children up to 12.(IANS/HP)
A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.
According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.
Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.
Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.
The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".
But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.
A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.
In response, one Twitter user said: "Ganesh Temple, village Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab has been ravaged. Another day, another attack on Hindus in Pakistan."
Another said: "Yesterday, the mob ran amok at Temple over minor boy issue who allegedly urinated, the boy said to be mentally handicapped. Hindu community made an apology for the boy — a case registered against the nine-year-old boy. Those vandalized temples, no FIR registered against them."
District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.
A small town close to the River Indus and Sindh-Punjab border, Bhong houses a number of gold traders who originally hail from Ghotki and Dehrki (Sindh), according to the Dawn news report.
A ruling PTI member representing the minority said he had been in touch with the local Hindu community and influential Rais family of Bhong since the issue surfaced.