Nike fires majority of FuelBand team, to stop making wearable hardware

“Nike is gearing up to shutter its wearable-hardware efforts, and the sportswear company this week fired the majority of the team responsible for the development of its FuelBand fitness tracker, a person familiar with the matter told CNET,” Nick Statt reports for CNET. “”The company informed members of the 70-person hardware team — part of its larger, technology-focused Digital Sport division comprised of about 200 people — of the job cuts Thursday. About 30 employees reside at Nike’s Hong Kong offices, with the remainder of the team at Nike’s Beaverton, Ore., headquarters.”

“Nike’s Digital Sport hardware team focused on areas like industrial design; manufacturing operations; electrical and mechanical hardware engineering; and software interface design. Products included not only the FuelBand but also the Nike+ sportwatch and other, more peripheral sport-specific initiatives,” Statt reports. “Of those 70 employees, about 70 percent to 80 percent — or as many as 55 people — were let go, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information was confidential… The shoemaker isn’t throwing in the towel on technology. Rather, it’s turning away from hardware and realigning its focus exclusively on fitness and athletic software, a strategic shift that would still benefit the company in the long run, analysts said… Nike will not, however, stop selling the second-generation FuelBand SE for now, the company confirmed. ‘The Nike+ FuelBand SE remains an important part of our business. We will continue to improve the Nike+ FuelBand App, launch new METALUXE colors, and we will sell and support the Nike+ FuelBand SE for the foreseeable future,’ Nike spokesman Brian Strong said in a follow-up comment.”

Nike+ Fuelband
Nike+ Fuelband
“As Nike redirects its wearable efforts toward software, it’s avoiding the competition from a bevy of new devices that will further crowd the market, namely the Apple ‘iWatch,'” Statt reports. “As Apple enters the fray, Nike has a potential partner. Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was seen wearing a FuelBand at the company’s launch of the iPad Mini in October 2012, sits on Nike’s board, and has for the last nine years. That relationship has been fruitful, helping Nike enter the wearable market as early as 2006 — with the Nike+iPod shoe-sensor package — with a strong brand partner.”

Statt reports, “A partnership, say analysts, would be a no-brainer. ‘Apple is in the hardware business. Nike is in the sneaker business. I don’t think Apple sees Nike as competitive. It’s likely that an Apple hardware offering would be supportive of the Nike software,’ Jim Duffy, a Nike analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, said when speaking with CNET last week. ‘Nike would be content to let Apple sell devices, as long as they would be supportive of the apps.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Expect the Nike logo, at least (and maybe even Phil Knight) to appear during an Apple keynote event in the not so distant future.


      1. Yes it still refused to say they were not closing down and parroted about support pretty much what has been said here. They don’t want an immediate panic against sales of the product. Also this may also indeed include a wholesale support of the impending Apple product so a change of focus that they can’t elaborate upon presently.

      2. It’s sloppy reporting on MDN’s part to portray the story as fact, with a click-baity headline, when everyone else is already posting updates saying that Nike has denied the story. I saw this story, with the update, on Apple Insider a long time before MDN posted it.

        Do your due diligence, MDN. It’s the only thing truly separating us from the Apple FUD crowd.

        1. MDN basically re-posted the story from CNET. MDN did not claim to be breaking news here, just reprinting relevant parts and providing a link to the original story. If you want to be mad at someone about the reporting accuracy, go talk to CNET.

    1. Where is the Grammar police when you need them?
      docwallaby, Did you mean to say ‘were’ instead of ‘we’re’ which is a fore shortened version of ‘we are’?

      Zzzzzzzz, Snorrrrr, Sleep blogging, Zzzzzzzzz, Snorrrrrrr.

      1. Did you mean to say “Where ARE the grammar police when you need them?” (Police implies plural.)

        I made a mistake. Mistakes happen. It’s entirely possible I typed that comment on my iPad and didn’t notice autocorrect working its usual magic. (In fact, I just had to go and undo its changing of “its” to “it’s” for this post.)

        Don’t be “that guy,” Crabby. Nobody likes “that guy.” If the only thing you have to contribute is a nitpicky grammar comment riddled with your own grammatical mistakes and improper terminology, you really don’t have anything to contribute at all.

        1. Because when you get right down to it, pointing out an error is not a contribution. Well, OK, I mean it’s a contribution to those who buy into the notion that we can correct errors once they’re pointed out, sure, but who the heck likes *those* “guys?” Screw those who point out the easy autocorrects that we really should have caught ourselves. And a big F U to those people who think we should read over our work once before throwing it up (double entendre?) online. I mean who the heck do they think they are?

        1. Sleep blogging, my eye! You’re fooling no one with that codology. I’ve a mind to box your ears! Now blow that runny nose, and back to your lessons!

    1. I think the writing was on the wall for the Fuelband when the M7 chip was announced. I’ve owned a Fuelband (and hated it because it looks like a toy wrapped around your wrist, and you have to constantly explain to people what it is). I did a little experiment with the Nike Move APP using the M7 chip, while wearing my Fuelband for a few days. The number of steps recorded were nearly identical on both.

      iPhone 5s recording activity – no one asks what that is.
      Fuelband wrapped around your wrist – everyone wants to know what that is.

  1. I always said that a major block to the fitness iWatch was tCook being on the Nike board. There’s no way he’s pull an Eric T. Mole, I thought. To me there’s no clearer indication that the iWatch is coming than that Nike is shuttering Fuelband hardware. Here comes the Boom.

    1. I think you’re wrong. Nike isn’t blocking anything Apple does. I think the iWatch delay has been due to Apple trying different options and determining what it could include in the product that would make it amazing and worth buying, not any one else’s opinions.

  2. Tim Cook showing the ruthlessness of being a CEO?

    I wonder if this action was started by Tim at a Nike board meeting.

    I reckon he presented something to them and afterwards a deal as do e with apple…

    Very interesting!

  3. Wearables will never be a profitable market for anyone. There just are not enough price points, market size, and standardization. Even with those, the amount of money in this market is miniscule compared to other technologies that this is being compared to; smart phones and tablets.

    It is likely that any wearable technology will be one that is incorporated and to be almost transparent to the end-user.
    this will likely be a method to provide additional profitability to existing products and market segments.

    1. I think you hit the nail on the rad wen you said ‘incorporated’

      I do t think Apple is developing a stand alone whe arable device.

      If you look at they’re hires from the fashion industry I reckon it’s tech clothing.

      Now that would be very cool indeed!

      Imagine touching your wrist to make a phone call etc

    2. I disagree. It’s just a matter of balancing the right technology with an attractive and non-intrusive product priced at the proper value point with features people want.

      Apple’s M7 chip in the iPhone 5S was basically an extended road test for wearables — after all, most of us keep our phones on us all day.

      However, I think the highly valuable areas of use will be beyond exercise. It will be health — blood pressure/heart rate monitoring, blood glucose levels, body temp, medication reminders, etc. the exercise aspects will be secondary (but still full-featured).

      1. The whole health thing (measures blood pressure etc) just isn’t really that interesting to me.

        I really don’t think it’s a massive market. If this is primarily a Heath product then I don’t think it’s interesting enough for volume sales like the iPad/iPod/iPhone.

        On the other hand if it can be an alternative to the above then that could sell millions.

  4. A stupid waste of money device designed for idiots that need reassurances that they are doing ‘good’ when exercising. In the words of that pathetic company ‘just do it’ means you don’t really need that junk to get fit.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.