One of the first mainstream brands to make wearable fitness electronics is getting out of the game. Nike has confirmed to CNET that the company is laying off people in its hardware division, which makes the FuelBand line of fitness trackers. “As a fast-paced, global business we continually align resources with business priorities,” Nike spokesman Brian Strong told the Verge 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.” The company declined further comment.
Citing an unnamed source, CNET reports that as many as 55 people on Nike’s 70-person hardware team were laid off Thursday. (A rumor of the layoffs first surfaced on Secret, the anonymous social network.) In addition to the FuelBand, Nike’s hardware division makes the Nike+ sportwatch and other peripherals. The original FuelBand launched in 2012, but Nike was slow to iterate on it. Last fall, the company released a new version that added Bluetooth support and new color options but little else. Around the same time, Apple reportedly hired Nike’s design director for the FuelBand to come work on its own wearable technology. CNET reports that a new FuelBand project was scrapped along with the other projects in Nike’s Digital Sport division.
Moving forward, Nike will reportedly shift its focus to fitness software, including its Nike+ API, which other hardware makers can integrate into their own wearables. The company also launched a software incubator in San Francisco last week called Fuel Lab that will help companies integrate NikeFuel, its fitness measurement system, into their own products.
Read the full story at: theverge.com