The wearables market is only getting started but one of the early entrants, Nike, is pulling the plug on its wearable hardware. The company has apparently decided to focus more on fitness-related software.
Nike’s FuelBand line-up is among the first of the wearable hardware that comes with a bevy of sensors, enabling an effective day-to-day fitness tracking. However, despite an obvious advantage of being the first in the market, Nike doesn’t seem to be selling the wearbles well enough and has decided to quit the hardware effort altogether.
This decision makes sense in the context that Nike isn’t originally a tech company. Rather, the company made a foray into the tech world with its fitness-tracking hardware and software. And now that the likes of Samsung, Apple and Google are gearing up for a frenzy of new wearable products, Nike is taking the exit door.
As part of this exit strategy, Nike is also laying off nearly 55 employees of the 70 people that comprise its Digital Sport division. The division focused on wearable hardware and played a key part in developing FuelBand as well as Nike+ sportwatch hardware.
Commenting on this major business division, a Nike spokesperson said, “As a fast-paced, global business we continually align resources with business priorities. 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.”
So what exactly does Nike intend to do by keeping the software side of things? From the looks of it, Nike hopes to advance its fitness-tracking software and apps adequately so that when giants like Samsung and Apple push further into the wearable market, they would add support for Nike’s hardware to their devices. As optimistic as this may sound, Nike still has an edge in terms of the software. So the company may have a place in the increasingly tech-centric fitness industry in the coming days.