Not convinced you can lay all the blame at the VC, and slightly surprised that such a shrill and overly simplistic article has made the top spot in el reg's email roundup. For one thing, the assertion that the sale means pebbles will simply stop working seems daft - aside from the fact that they'll continue to do all non-cloud stuff - barring an OS update that Borja the app - there's this on the dev blog:
"we’ll be working to phase out cloud services, providing the ability for the community to take over, where possible"
Those last two words are a major caveat, but given what the community has shown itself capable of, I won't be retiring my Pebble Time just yet. I'll be wearing it advisedly, half holding my breath in case things go kaput at any moment, which will be annoying, but I'll just have to look for something else when that time comes.
But yeah, while the VC money may have led Pebble in a direction they didn't have to go, I think it's unfair to lay the blame solely at the feet of the guy signing the cheques. Management made some crazy, well documented decisions, not least attempting to launch three new products before Christmas, funding them on Kickstarter but then still having to go to retail before delivering to backers, because cash flow was clearly so poor. They spread themselves too thin, and quite clearly underestimated the volume of sales a profit margins they needed to stay in the black.
What's utterly baffling at this point is that the Pebble Core, which was either a lie or a unique and well-species product with huge market potential, is now dead. If your company is going under, and you have one Hail Mary play to make, do you pick:
1) update your original watch with smaller bezels and a heart rate monitor
2) update your second watch with smaller bezels and a heart rate monitor
3) launch something entirely new, that will appeal to lots of people - not just smartwatch aficionados - and piggyback on Amazon's success with Echo/Alexa
Somehow, Eric thought the answer was 4) All of the above. It doesn't make sense - you're out of money, but you've developed something new and interesting: that's what you put on Kickstarter, perhaps even as a new company. And you reboot the watches later, once you can afford to pay your staff and ride out the slow sales.
What also doesn't make sense is the idea FitBit has killed the Core. If that's the case, the world's a crazy place. If I were them, that'd be the one piece of newly-purchased IP that I'd be slapping my own company logo on and bringing to market as soon as possible, before something else plugs the gap.