Under Armour is making a major play to gain a foothold in the fitness-tracking market, which is led by the likes of Nike, Fitbit, and Jawbone. The company has snapped up MapMyFitness for $150 million, giving it instant entry into the blooming activity-tracking business. MapMyFitness isn't known for specific devices; rather, it offers a way to analyze, use, and share the data provided by hundreds of other devices. Since its launch in 2007, the company has signed up 20 million users, of which 9 million use the service at least once per month, according to The Wall Street Journal. One of the more appealing features of MapMyFitness — which is split up into a number of apps like MapMyRun and MapMyRide — is its social functionality, which allows users to share workout data with friends as an incentive to exercise a little longer.
It's not immediately clear how Under Armour will specifically use MapMyFitness, but it is readily apparent that it will take advantage of the platform for future tracking devices. In a statement, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank says that "we are better positioned to design open, digital products for the athlete of tomorrow" as a result of the acquisition, adding that the purchase is "about enhancing our digital expertise to drive the future of performance innovation." He added to The Wall Street Journal that "athlete biometric measurement is a new business we’re just getting behind."
With MapMyFitness' valuable community, the company may be able to become a major competitor to Nike, which launched its first tracking devices back in 2006. It's since seen success with the Nike Fuelband. Under Armour has made a single fitness tracking device in the past — earlier this year it launched the Armour39 heart rate monitor band (above), which sells for $149.99 and wraps around your chest. We'll have to wait and see what Under Armour does with the acquisition, but the company has already made clear that it will run MapMyFitness as a subsidiary, keeping the staff in its current Texas offices. Current users shouldn't expect the service to shut down, either, though the company hasn't yet announced its full plans.