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Google Spends $40 Million on Watch Tech to Fight Apple

Mark Bergen

(Bloomberg) -- Google agreed to acquire smartwatch technology and personnel from Fossil Group Inc. in a bid to boost the search giant’s nascent efforts in the category.

The Alphabet Inc. unit will pay $40 million for Fossil intellectual property, according to a statement from the companies. Additionally, an unspecified number of Fossil’s research and development employees will join Google. Fossil said that 200 people will remain with that division.

Fossil shares jumped as much as 11 percent to $19.32 on Thursday. Alphabet stock was little changed at $1,089.58.

For several years, Google has provided free software, called Wear OS, that other companies can use to make their own internet-connected watches. But sales of those devices have lagged well behind the Apple Inc.’s Watch. Google does not sell its own smartwatch, but it has a growing hardware division making Pixel smartphones and other devices.

A Fossil spokeswoman said the intellectual property is related to technology that isn’t currently in the market. A Google spokeswoman declined to provide further information.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at mbergen10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Alistair Barr, Andrew Pollack

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