Fitbit Users Still Pissed At Google For Outages And Making Everything Subscription Based

from the oxygen-is-now-a-subscription-service dept

Given Wall Street’s insatiable demand for improved quarterly returns at any cost, a growing number of companies seem intent on nickel-and-diming once happy customers into oblivion. For many companies, that means taking a feature that was free or already paid for as part of the device’s retail price, then shoving it into a subscription tier (see: BMW’s plan to make heated seats a luxury subscription service).

Amazon’s Ring has been busy annoying users with its plans to take basic functionality (even simple notifications), and making them subscription based. So is Google owned Fitbit, which has increasingly put basic health monitoring functionality behind a subscription paywall, even as it eliminates popular features and continues to struggle with basic service outages.

Last week, Google announced it would be trying to make amends with Fitbit users by opening up more of Fitbit’s Health Metrics Dashboard to nonsubscribers. But industry watchers argue it’s not as big of a deal as Google insists, and likely won’t be enough to make annoyed customers happy:

today’s announcement isn’t as impressive as it might seem at first glance. When the Health Metrics Dashboard was initially introduced, it was a Premium exclusive. Then, in 2021, Fitbit expanded access to the dashboard across some of its older products and allowed nonsubscribers to view their daily and seven-day trends. What today’s move really does is add 30-day and 90-day trend views and any associated insights that come with longer-term monitoring. It was only a matter of time before these metrics were moved out from behind the Fitbit Premium paywall.

Basically, Google threw a few crumbs at Fitbit customers who are increasingly questioning their $80 annual subscription, particularly in wake of all the major outages.

Wall Street wants what it wants, but feeding that demand is never a particularly sustainable cycle when it comes to quality products and happy subscribers. The more Google/Fitbit try to squeeze, the more annoyed customers will flock to health-monitoring alternatives like Garmin, which sells more expensive fitness watches, but also doesn’t (yet) nickel-and-dime users with subscriptions of dubious value.

Filed Under: fitbit outage, fitness, health metrics, smartwatch, subscription fees

Companies: fitbit, google

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