April 21st 2014
By Mike Flaminio
Nick Statt for CNET:
"As a fast-paced, global business we continually align resources with business priorities," Nike spokesman Brian Strong said in an email. "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."
Nike of course brought the FuelBand to market, a wristband fitness and health tracker. The device had its issues, but brought some innovations to the market with its LED readout and fuel point system. It also brought a lot of cache with the Nike brand and retail presence. This move also appears to affect the Nike+ hardware trackers, which have been available for Apple gear for many years.
The obvious conclusion is this may have something to do with Apple's widely rumored move into health and fitness. iOS 8 is expected to bring a number of new features, in addition to the M7 process that was released with current iOS devices. Also, there's of course the rumored new Apple wearable device. Could Nike be bowing out knowing what's around the corner? Tim Cook is on the Nike board. Likely there will be some type of collaboration between Nike and Apple, so perhaps the move will be in favor of supporting Apple hardware? Or simply this all could be unrelated and Nike decided to fold its hand and focus on its strengths.
Regardless, it's a curious move. While the company says it's committed to software, the wearable space is just beginning to heat up,. So it's an odd time to bail, but on the flip side, the market for these gizmos may not be as big as people assume. Services that hook into existing mobile hardware may be a more attractive business.