Fitbit and Yahoo Groups


I’m starting to catch up with industry news after I was MIA. I keep almost spelling that as MBA. Today’s post tackles two details buried in press releases.

The first was Fitbit announcing they’re being acquired. I can’t say I’m surprised, they must have been getting squeezed on multiple sides. Their characterisation of “pioneering” the wearables segment rung a bit hollow as a former Jawbone and Pebble user, but we’ll let that slide.

Buried five paragraphs in we got what we’re all interested in, emphasis added. Forgive me quoting the entire thing, I thought it was illustrative of how these press releases are always written:

Consumer trust is paramount to Fitbit. Strong privacy and security guidelines have been part of Fitbit’s DNA since day one, and this will not change. Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why. The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.

The fact they felt that assurance was even neccesary belies their confidence elsewhere in the post. Would they be saying the same thing if they were bought by Apple, or Samsung?

The second example is the email we all got about the fate of Yahoo Groups. It was another wall of text, but at the end of bullet point four, emphasis added:

All Groups will be made private and any content that was previously uploaded via the website will be removed. We believe privacy is critical and made this decision to better align with our overall principles.

I empathise these kinds of announcements are hard, and that businesses can’t always be honest and upfront with the reasons for their decisions. Yahoo Groups can’t exactly be making them money at this stage, or probably for years. And the people writing this copy are usually not the ones behind the decisions for which they have to write justifications.

Here comes the but though, but… obfuscation is rarely a good look either.

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