Well I suppose it is a seemingly sensible move and at $191m it’s a potential bargain.
I reviewed a Withings device more than a year ago. It was nice enough but it was not that high-tech. Wearable tech needs to be leading edge or beautiful and/or actually able to do what is says on the tin. Withings did do what it said but it was relative low-tech in this high-tech market. Sure it later introduced swim tracking but we were left feeling that a little more on the hardware side was needed. In came the Withings Go…neither that clever nor, I would contend, that beautiful.
One would presume that the clever people still left at Nokia should be able to add a dollop of tech to a company that may well need it.
Many have left and started some very clever Finnish sports tech businesses. Many remain as hopefully does much of Microsoft’s money that was ploughed into the company some years ago.
So then we have to ask if the move into Health is a sensible one for Nokia. Health Tech is probably going to be a continually growing market as populations age and get wealthier. HOWEVER the medical, formally approved side of the market is a closed shop and very hard to break into unless you already have your foot well and truly in the door. I doubt Nokia have that foot but Withings might have.
Withings also has a fairly good set of various ‘home’/health products such as an air quality monitor and scales. Lots of clever bits to link up and cross-sell to existing users.
I’m still not quite sure where Nokia’s mobile phones sit in the equation. Why their phones? That bit doesn’t make sense. Surely anyone’s phone/tablet will do the job for Withings products? (Edit: Nokia’s deal Microsoft ends in Q4.2016 after which smartphones will resume)
Only time will tell. They have some big leaps to make. Both of them.
Nokia plans to acquire Withings to accelerate entry into Digital Health
Espoo, Finland – Nokia has announced plans to acquire Withings S.A., a pioneer and leader in the connected health revolution with a family of award-winning digital health products and services to help people all over the world lead healthier, happier and more productive lives. Withings will be part of our Nokia Technologies business.
“We have said consistently that digital health was an area of strategic interest to Nokia, and we are now taking concrete action to tap the opportunity in this large and important market,” said Rajeev Suri, president & CEO of Nokia. “With this acquisition, Nokia is strengthening its position in the Internet of Things in a way that leverages the power of our trusted brand, fits with our company purpose of expanding the human possibilities of the connected world, and puts us at the heart of a very large addressable market where we can make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives.”
World Health Organization figures show cardiovascular disease as today’s number one cause of death, with more than a billion adults around the world living with uncontrolled hypertension. Diabetes now affects more than one in twelve adults worldwide, a four-fold increase since 1980. Healthcare is expected to be one of the largest vertical markets in the Internet of Things, with analysts forecasting that mobile health, with a CAGR of 37%, will be the fastest growing health care segment from 2015-2020.
“Withings shares our vision for the future of digital health and their products are smart, well designed and already helping people live healthier lives,” said Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies. “Combining their award-winning products and talented people with the world-class expertise and innovation of Nokia Technologies uniquely positions us to lead the next wave of innovation in digital health.”
The combination of innovative products from Withings and the Digital Health business will also ensure the ongoing renewal of Nokia Technologies’ world class IPR portfolio.
Withings was founded by Chairman Eric Carreel and CEO Cedric Hutchings in 2008 and is headquartered in France, with approximately 200 employees across its locations in Paris, France, Cambridge, US and Hong Kong. Withings’ portfolio of regulated and unregulated products includes activity trackers, weighing scales, thermometers, blood pressure monitors, home and baby monitors and more, and is built on a sophisticated digital health platform, providing insights to empower people to make smarter decisions about the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families. Withings’ own products are complemented by an ecosystem of more than a hundred compatible apps.
“Since we started Withings, our passion has been in empowering people to track their lifestyle and improve their health and wellbeing,” said Cédric Hutchings, CEO of Withings. “We’re excited to join Nokia to help bring our vision of connected health to more people around the world.”
The Nokia brand continues to be recognized, valued and trusted by consumers, built on a heritage of beautifully designed, innovative and reliable technology in the service of people around the world to help real human needs.
The planned transaction values Withings at EUR 170 million and would be settled in cash and is expected to close in early Q3, 2016 subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
World Health Organisation: Diabetes fact sheet; Cardiovascular diseases fact sheet; Global Health Observatory data.
P&S Market Research, “Global Digital Health Market Size, Share, Development, Growth and Demand Forecast to 2020.” November 2015