Nike president and CEO Mark Parker has added fuel to rumors on Friday that the company’s Fuelband software could end up in the Apple iWatch.
In an interview with CNBC, the executive stressed the importance of its existing relationship with Apple and is “excited about where that relationship will go forward.”
Earlier this week, a source familiar with Nike’s thinking told Mashable the move to lay off its Fuelband team and stop building new fitness tracker hardware is a strategic way to open up Nike software to other wearable platforms.
The source strongly implied one of them would be Apple’s upcoming iWatch (or iBand). While the discontinuation of the Fuelband line (along with laying off most of its team) looks on the surface like a failure for Nike, Fuelband software (called NikeFuel) would get a huge boost from Apple customers with sights set on the iWatch.
“We are focusing more on the software side of the [Fuelband] experience,” Parker said in the video interview. “I think we will be part of wearables going forward. It’ll be integrated into other products that we create, and then we’ll look at expanding our partnerships to create more reach for the NikeFuel and Fuel system that we have … and the best way to do that, we think, is through the best partnerships that we can find.”
In line with this thinking, a source tells us the move would be similar to the way many consumers now access the Kindle store via a tablet — and not necessarily a Kindle. Nike+ Fuelband software would exist, similarly, in Apple’s fitness ecosystem featured on the iWatch.
Although Parker declined to comment on rumors of the NikeFuel software popping up in the iWatch, he said, “I will just say the relationship between Nike and Apple will continue, and I am personally, as we all are at Nike, very excited about what’s to come.”
He added that the company’s goal is to increase the number of users that take advantage of the NikeFuel software and system.
“You’re going to continue to see us commit to this area, to focus on expanding the reach,” he said. “Today, we have about 30 million Fuelband users, and we’re hoping to push that over 100 million.”