Nike has decided to get out of the wearable technology market entirely, according to a brand-new report from CNET. The company is said to have come to the conclusion that fitness software has a more stable future at the company, leading to the discontinuation of the FuelBand and other wearable fitness products and the firing of most of the 70 employees currently working in that division.
The move is interesting timing. Just a week ago, Nike launched Nike+Fuel Lab in San Francisco, a “new program to develop partnerships and products with NikeFuel” hundreds of miles south of its current location at its Oregon HQ.
This announcement comes only weeks before Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where the company is expected to show off its upcoming Healthbook application as part of the next generation of iPhone software in anticipation of iWatch hardware coming later this year. Nike’s new strategy will put it more in line to compete with Healthbook as an application rather than the actual iWatch device.
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To facilitate wider adoption of its fitness software, Nike will be opening an API for developers to integrate with the Nike+ service later this year.
As CNET points out, Tim Cook is a member of the Nike board and a FuelBand user, so perhaps the two companies have a broader partnership in the works following the launch of Apple’s iWatch this year. Apple and Nike have long been allies, as evidenced by the various Nike+ accessories and integration provided by older iPod models, and the inclusion of the Nike+ app on the stock iPhone operating system—though it’s disabled by default.
If you still want a FuelBand, you can grab one for an all-time low price from Amazon.
Update: Nike gave a pretty ambiguous quote to Re/code
“The Nike+ FuelBand SE remains an important part of our business,” the company said in a statement emailed to Re/code. “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.”