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Google's Nest considering bid for Nokia's ailing smart health business
- Nest is reportedly one of four companies interested in buying Nokia Health.
- There are said to be a number of obstacles in the way that could stop Google from making the purchase.
- The interest in Nokia Health would be a big step up from Google’s previous ventures into the smart health market.
Google’s smart home subsidiary Nest is reportedly in the running to buy Nokia’s Health division. According to Les Echos (spotted by Wareable) the company is one of four that is currently in the running to buy the troubled arm of Nokia’s digital health business.
According to the article, however, there are a number of obstacles standing in the way of a potential takeover by Nest. These include the French government reportedly favoring a sale to a French bidder and worries that a sale to Google could be badly received in a climate where, after the Facebook Cambridge Audio Audio Analytica scandal, the public is wary of how big tech firms use private information.
The article cites a source who speculates that a better outcome could be if Google were to invest in one of the French companies that are competing in the bidding for Nokia Health. Of the other companies who have shown an interest, two are said to be French and one is said to be non-European.
Should the sale go through, it would be the end of a short and unsuccessful journey into the smart health market for Nokia.
Should the sale go through, it would be the end of a short and unsuccessful journey into the smart health market for Nokia. The company initially bought the French digital health firm Withings in 2016, which was then rebranded to fit into Nokia’s product portfolio. It now produces a number of digital health products for the home, including a body scale, activity trackers, and sleep sensors.
However, in October 2017, signs of trouble appeared as Nokia took a write-down of $164 million on its digital health business. By February this year, rumors emerged that the Finnish company seemed to be planning to sell the business.
There have been big changes at Nest too. Earlier this year, Google announced that Nest would be merged into Google’s hardware division. This was reportedly in order to combine the hardware, software, and services of Nest and Google’s hardware group, all with Google Assistant at the core. Google Assistant is becoming more central to Nest’s products so the merge seems to make a lot of sense.
Should the sale of Nokia Health to Nest go through, Google would be taking a huge step into the health-centric smart home market. While previously it has tested the waters through the Google Fit app and Wear OS fitness features for wearable devices, it has never manufactured its own health-focused products or devices.