That’s right. The sportswear giant is washing it’s hands clean and exiting the fitness tracker hardware market. Layoffs have affected about 55 of the 70-person team responsible for the development of the Nike FuelBand. That’s about one quarter of the total employees in Nike’s Digital Sport division, which focuses on the engineering aspects of peripheral sport-specific products.
Although these projects are being cancelled, Nike plans to continue sales and support of the Nike FuelBand SE. Users can expect to see improvements to the Nike+ FuelBand App as well as additional colors for the tracker. So what is Nike’s new growth focus? Software.
Considering how quickly the crowded fitness tracker market has become, Nike’s move to ditch hardware and focus on athletic and fitness apps is sound. The battleground for fitness trackers is about to turn a bit more fierce, as tech companies Google and Apple loom near. Nike feels that the development of its own software aligns well with company vision.
Smartphone sensors have improved sufficiently that separate hardware isn’t necessary for the Nike+ digital app. Nike is looking to Apple as a potential relationship partner in support of Nike’s software. This wouldn’t be the first time the two have paired up to develop products and apps. It could be likely for us to see Apple hardware backed by Nike software in the near future.