Withings Co-Founder Buys Back Digital Health Company From Nokia, Relaunch Planned This Year

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 31, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Back in 2016, Nokia acquired health startup Withings in a deal estimated at $192 million, hoping to re-establish its presence in the consumer electronics market. Nokia did this by rebranding Withings' iOS compatible products under its own name, with devices like the Withings Steel Watch and Withings Go fitness trackers becoming the Nokia Steel and Nokia Go.

    Unfortunately for the company, the acquisition has largely been seen as a failure, with the digital health division earning just $62.4 million in 2017, part of Nokia's overall $27.9 billion in revenue for the year. Because of this, the company announced earlier in May that it would sell the division back to Withings co-founder, Eric Carreel, and today that deal has officially closed (via TechCrunch).


    Financial terms were not given for the sale, but it is said to have included 200 employees rejoining Carreel under the Withings brand. Moving forward, Carreel said that the next steps for the renewed Withings brand will be a "relaunch" of its products focused on preventive health coming by the end of 2018.
    Withings offers connected products like scales, activity tracking smart watches, blood pressure monitors, smart thermometers, sleep trackers, and more, and according to TechCrunch it "sounds like it will keep all of these in place" after the relaunch. The news of the deal closing also brought confirmations of an executive shakeup in Nokia, with president Gregory Lee exiting Nokia and Maria Varsellona stepping up to the duty from a chief legal officer position.

    In late 2016 Nokia and Apple entered a series of legal battles that began when Nokia sued Apple for patent infringement in the United States and Germany. As the dispute escalated, Apple decided to remove all Withings products from Apple.com and most Apple retail locations around the world, since the connected health devices were at the time under the Nokia umbrella. Although many of the Nokia-branded products have since returned to Apple.com, Withings should have a much easier time selling its smart scales and more when it returns to its original branding scheme later this year.

    Article Link: Withings Co-Founder Buys Back Digital Health Company From Nokia, Relaunch Planned This Year
  2. Frederik on MacRumors macrumors member

    Frederik on MacRumors

    Oct 7, 2015
    The Nokia health app is a disaster. I welcome this change. Hopefully, they reintroduce the old app!
  3. Mansu944 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2012
    Great way to make capital. Good for him. Now fix your app for my scale.
  4. Pupi macrumors 6502


    Apr 12, 2015
    Withings scale user since 2012.

    I hope this means we’ll finally get the Homekit compatible Withings Home.
  5. jmh600cbr macrumors 6502a


    Feb 14, 2012
  6. M.PaulCezanne macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2014
    Makes sense. Nokia wrecked that brand.
  7. honglong1976 macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2008
    I consider this company dead.

    You buy a Withings branded device. Nokia buy and change the app, rebrand all the products to Nokia. Now Nokia branding will be removed and Withings put back.

    Total disaster!

    Buy an Apple watch! :)
  8. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    What a surprise that a talented group of people joined Nokia in 2016 and Nokia ran them into the ground. I am shocked. Nobody could have foreseen this!! /s
  9. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    Far too little, far too late.

    I wouldn't get my hopes up current owners. It's unlikely they'll bring you back into the ecosystem. You're a lost cost. They gain nothing by giving you the app for free. If they hope to survive, they need to sell you a new scale.
  10. BB8 macrumors regular


    Jan 26, 2016
    It's amazing that Nokia managed to screw this one up so badly. I always thought it had potential. After all the terrible reviews though I decided to pick up a much cheaper Eufy scale.
  11. az431 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Pure speculation. Nothing in the article states what the purchase price was. Even if it was pennies on the dollar, the company could continue to lose money under the prior owner. It could turn out to be a shrewd move or a boneheaded one.
  12. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    Yes, this is awesome news. Once nokia bought them I gave up on their app and just had it sync to myfitnesspal. Nokia has made some really nice hardware in the past, but software just isn't their forte.
  13. sinsin07 macrumors 68040

    Mar 28, 2009
    Blood Pressure
    How are these metrics achieved on an Apple Watch.
  14. Xano macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2011
    After all nothing new (product) come from Nokia.

    Health prevention and monitorizations is the way to go ... diabetes, obesity, cholesterol ...
  15. jmh600cbr macrumors 6502a


    Feb 14, 2012
    it clearly was pennies on the dollar...thats not up for debate. your second point though is, if it tanks entirely he made a mistake.
  16. ob81 macrumors 65816


    Jun 11, 2007
    Virginia Beach
    I still rock my Activite, which Nokia simply just killed. They blew it. I guess my scale and watch will get some real updates now.
  17. BeefCake 15 macrumors 65816

    BeefCake 15

    May 15, 2015
    near Boston, MA
    If I stand on top of the Apple Watch, will it give me my weight?
  18. honglong1976 macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2008
    It doesn’t matter what they sell. The core products are the smart watches and fitness trackers. Unfortunately, due to the Apple Watch there is no hope for them (they couldn’t even compete against Jawbone and look what happened to them, no chance against Fitbit or Xiaomi as well). Which means, regardless of how good their other products are, they will fail.

    Great activity trackers in 2012, but things have moved on.

    Remember this post when you read in the next 6-12 months about Withings shutting down.
    --- Post Merged, May 31, 2018 ---
    Give it a go and feedback how it goes!

    Ifixit sell replacement screens :)
  19. Trekkie macrumors 6502a


    Nov 13, 2002
    Wake Forest, NC

    I have the scale and the blood pressure cuff. The app works fine with those, and it pulls my steps from my Apple Watch.

    It's not disastrous, it doesn't do much else, but saying it was disastrous is a bit of a stretch.
  20. azentropy macrumors 68020


    Jul 19, 2002
    My Withings scale broke a couple of weeks ago, I think I had it 5 years. So I’m in the market for a new one, not sure if I’ll wait for their products to be straightened out.
  21. Baumi macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2005
    What makes you say that? Withings started out with smart scales and blood pressure monitors, and I would imagine that's still where their main income is coming from. They tried branching out into the wearable market when the initial smartwatch hype was in full swing, but I don't think they ever managed to capture a sizeable market share. In hindsight, it probably wasn't a smart business decision, but I wouldn't call these their "core products" by any means.
  22. kwikdeth macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tempe, AZ
    No, it was disastrous. Nokia took out a bunch of functionality, the new app design, while pleasant on the eyes, was buggy as hell for months on end, tons of people had problems with the app just not talking to their devices anymore, and Nokia's support was god-awful with nothing but "thanks for bringing your concerns to us!" templated responses for ages. they finally turned it around, but the reputation damage they did to their existing customer base was substantial. Nokia pulled the most compelling, potentially market-increasing product (Steel HR) which Withings was already shipping and sat on it for months to do seemingly nothing but slap a Nokia logo on it. Not to mention the app redesign itself was a poor-man's iOS wannabe.

    I for one applaud this news. Nokia never got what made Withings special (not everybody needs or wants a smart watch) and continually didnt get what to do with it once they bought it.
  23. cuencap macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2011
    I'm not sure you understand what Nokia/Withings offers. The scales, blood pressure cuffs, sleep trackers, and thermometers are all supplements to the Apple Health offerings. They provide data that the Apple Watch does not offer. While Nokia/Withings offers activity trackers, I don't ever see these as being an Apple Watch alternative.

    Health only wants people to contribute data from across all of the genres listed above. While the most comprehensive data may come from Apple Watch, Health still works by obtaining data from these '3rd party' accessories. So while the wearable category may be consolidating, the consumer that uses Apple Health wins in all of this because Health is one of the few 'apps' that brings all of the data together. And with future updates, I see the Health app being smarter and bringing insights to your daily usage. "You worked out a lot today and haven't drank much water....drink more water" type insights.
  24. honglong1976, Jun 1, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018

    honglong1976 macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2008
    I understand the products they sell, but the problem is things have changed. Normally you would buy into an ecosystem, tracker, sleep device, blood monitor. If someone upgraded from their Withings tracker to an Apple Watch for example and loved it, would they be likely to buy another tracker from Withings? would that also affect any other products they purchased from Withings? Most likely.

    I bought an Apple watch because of the amount of times other smart watch companies went under (Pebble, Jawbone) or changed names (Withings). I feel the Apple Watch is a secure product to own (regardless of the other bits and bobs Withings sell). I get tracking, heart rate and sleep (via an app) from one device from a company that's not going to go under or change names. Scales, I can use those in my bathroom and manually update apple health.

    Withings have/had some great products, but I feel changing to Nokia harmed those who had Withings products. The Nokia app was awful. Those customers who liked Withings either now hated them (thanks to the app) or changed to a Nokia branded product or another brand. Fast forward a few years and the company is now Withings again. As a consumer I would have less confidence in them now and if i changed from Withings to Nokia, am I going to do it again?

    I don't think there is a market for an app to tell someone if they drunk enough water or not. If I workout, I need more water. It's common sense.

    If I wanted a pair of scales, I would go for a Fitbit one or one by Xiaomi (costs about £30) or use a pair already in my bathroom. Both have not changed their names and have high sales figures! Whereas Withings/Nokia is in the 'other' category when it comes to sales.

    Apple acquired Beddit so either their watch will track sleep soon or they will bring out a device to do it like Beddit. Withings sleep tracking sales would disappear. Also, Withings had an issue in the past where their products couldn't be sold in Apple stores. Again, affecting their sales.

    Shame really because I liked their products in 2012, but times have changed. The AW does most things I need and anything it doesn't, I will wait till Apple does it or not bother (me personally, I don't need smart scales or a blood monitor).

    I give them 12 months before they shut down.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 1, 2018 ---
    Without any sales figures it's hard to tell. On their website they usually focus on their smart watches, fitness trackers. So, it could be assumed this is the main products they sell the most of. Otherwise, you would have a website about scales with a small section for fitness trackers. Anyone I know with a Withings product always had a tracker. Although, no one has one now. They have either Fitbit or AW.

    Not conclusive but without sales figures, no one knows.
  25. Baumi macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2005
    Apple Health makes this unnecessary. The data from my Apple Watch shows up in the Nokia/Withings app, and the App from their devices shows up in Apple Health and any other app that's allowed to use its data.

    So if they liked their Apple Watch, they wouldn't buy any smart scale, since Apple doesn't offer one? That doesn't make much sense.


    Fitbit's sales have been dropping in 2017, most likely due to the Apple Watch's competition. By your own logic that should mean that their other devices are in trouble, too, because supposedly someone who likes their Apple Watch is less likely to buy anything (even a scale) made by a competitor.

    From what I've heard, the Withings sleep tracker never worked all that well anyway. Plus, it's expensive, and I don't think there's nearly as much of a market for it as for, e.g., scales. IMHO, they'll end up axing that product. And I think Apple won't release a dedicated sleep tracker, either, but rather use Beddit's know-how to improve the Apple Watch.

    I don't know Withings' finances enough to comment on that, but I'd say that depends on the strength and profitability of their complete line-up and not on consumers buying into one ecosystem over another.

    Right now at least, the scales get very much top billing.

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