Nike, a pioneer in wearable tech business, is reportedly planning to stop producing the popular FuelBand fitness tracker.
CNET is reporting that the company is laying off the people on its team responsible for the development of FuelBand. Instead, Nike will divert its energies on fitness-related software. Nike recently launched a testing lab in San Francisco, dubbed the Fuel Lab. The testing space will help companies to integrate NikeFuel, its fitness measurement system, into their own products.
Citing unnamed sources, CNET reports that as many as 55 of Nike's 70 odd people (hardware division) were laid off on Thursday. Apart from Nike's FuelBand, the company also produces Nike+ sports watch.
"As a fast-paced, global business we continually align resources with business priorities," Nike spokesman Brian Strong told CNET. "As our Digital Sport priorities evolve, we expect to make changes within the team, and there will be a small number of layoffs. We do not comment on individual employment matters."
Meanwhile, Nike confirmed to CNET that the company will not top selling the second-generation FuelBand SE for the time being.
"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,"
The original Nike Fuelband was launched in 2012, but it never went on to become a money spinner. In 2013, Nike introduced a revamped version of the FuelBand with Bluetooth support and new color options.
Nike's decision to kill its hardware division could be related to Apple. Tim Cook, Apple's current CEO, is on Nike's board. That being said, Apple is rumored to introduce fitness related band / iWatch this fall. It is possible that Nike wanted to exit from the wearable market, before Apple jumps in.
Stay tuned to GizBot for more updates!