FuelBand and other hardware discontinued, development team fired as Nike seeks to exit wearable tech market

Nike + FuelBand

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.

Screenshot 2014-04-19 06.47.08

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.

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.”

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  1. Congrats to Nike. Though I’m sorry about the job losses, I think Nike did a good job reading its future tea leaves.

    • mechanic50 - 9 years ago

      If those people are any good at what they do and I believe they are, they will most likely be snapped up by Apple immediately.
      I use a nike sensor for my running with my iPhone and it works great, I would have no problem switching to an Apple one in whatever form it comes (iWatch) (or plain sensor).

  2. This can mean only one thing…

  3. irockapple - 9 years ago

    WWDC being a few weeks away and now Nike discontinuing it’s fuel band. This is by far not a coincidence. Apple and Nike has been in bed together for years and this is too close for anything else except an announcement of the iWatch. I am getting more and more excited about WWDC!!!

  4. Sofrie M Drei - 9 years ago

    Is this the end of the nike sportswatch as well?

    • irockapple - 9 years ago

      I doubt if they get rid of the sport watch also. The sport watch appeals to a semi-different demographic than the iWatch or the the fuel band.

  5. standardpull - 9 years ago

    Nike is a fashion design brand and not a tech shop. Nike is more apt to design a look and slap their swish on it than to create hardware or software. Getting back to their roots they can license their swish to any product of their choosing and earn royalties much bigger than their actual profits from their hardware and software endeavors. Welcome to Wall Street, where the name of the game is to maximize profit and not to necessarily be an innovative leader. Nike is merely going for the profit as it has every time.

    • rahhbriley - 9 years ago

      You’re wrong. They genuinely care about the device. They don’t like loosing money, and hell I’m sure they like making it. I have no idea the profitability of the Fuel band. But they absolutely care more about the fuel band than to give it up so easily if there wasn’t something else big planned. They have a lot of intellectual property, r&d, and investment around the fuel band, plus it is surely an emotional bright spot for Nike. This is more like they’re sending their baby to college. It’s had fun at home under mom and dad’s rule, but it’s time to send it off into the real world and grow up. Which it will do at Apple U, and become the baddest ass band it can be, and outsell everything else, ever. Including bibles.

  6. rahhbriley - 9 years ago

    Soooo excited!!! I nearly pooped when I saw the news alert about this last night. Some of you are putting this together, some of you aren’t. This is 110% related to iWatch. Tim Cook is on the board of Nike. I’ve wondered for awhile now how the relationship between the two companies would be reconciled regarding iWatch. Apple felt betrayed by Schmidt and Google regarding iPhone back in the day, was hoping Tim and Apple weren’t gonna do the same to Nike regarding iWatch/Fuel band. Seems like they have something worked out. I’m assuming Fuel band has been a testing ground for Apple in certain areas. Many employees could find their way to Apple. This makes me think more than anything that well see a band similar to what Nike has been making (which is really the only decent design for a wearable wrist device out there). Nike’s misleadingly vague comment supports that there’s something going on. Sooooooo excited.

    • Mr. Grey (@mister_grey) - 9 years ago

      You are being ridiculously overoptimistic and envisioning a sort of conspiracy between the two companies where none exists.

      The fact is, the “fitness bracelet” market is a small niche market. Tim Cook has expressly said so himself when asked about “wearables.” He has also said that the only successful wearables in the market today are devices that do one thing only (fitness bracelets).

      So …

      1) Apple is coming out with their own fitness bracelet.
      2) There isn’t enough room in the market for two top-line products
      3) Nike leaves the (hardware) market for good, sensible, sales-related reasons.

      There is no evidence of collusion, or conspiracy and if Tim was really advising Nike to do things like this it wouldn’t be strictly legal.

      Nike is just deciding that their fitness bracelet is going to pale next to Apple’s and that they would rather just make the software for Apple’s thing than try to compete on hardware in a tiny market that can really only support one leader.

      • rahhbriley - 9 years ago

        Overly optimistic? Oh definitely. Was very much just a giddy fanboy ramble. But I will say that I genuinely believe there is more cooperation on this between these two than you tend to indicate either. I’d wager this move absolutely has something to do with iWatch (or whatever it is or called).

  7. Cary Groneveldt - 9 years ago

    Nike obviously knows what’s coming, WDC14, maybe?
    And while all of the other losers have gone in the opposite track,
    flooding the market with garbage hardware,
    Nike is, smartly, deciding to get out of the market altogether and,
    instead, MAKE THE SOFTWARE that’ll run on iBand.
    Well played, Nike, well played ….

  8. mockery17 - 9 years ago

    Maybe they are going to integrate the features of FuelBand into the iWatch? That’d be interesting.

  9. ronie678 - 9 years ago

    Reblogged this on Ronak's Apple iNews and commented:
    My fuelband may very well become a collector. Haha!

  10. #TechTrendsKenya - 9 years ago

    Reblogged this on techtrendske.

  11. Stewart Haynes - 9 years ago

    Unlike a traditional watch design, the nature of a sleek wearable band combining style and function that is primarily used for the rigors of fitness is….ongoing reliability issues.
    Like many other users, my first edition FuelBand didn’t last the warranty period of 12-months.
    Along with a few more features and a splash of colour, my SE version appears to be slightly more robust, however I suspect that this will not last “normal use” much longer than the first without encountering some issues along the way.
    I love the product, however I suspect that the design is causing Nike grief from increasing negative consumer feedback caused from the product’s inevitable limited life span.
    It will take a breakthrough in design to make a wearable (fitness) device to look good, function well AND last the distance…. it’s sad that Nike have appeared to have conceded defeat.

  12. dr3459 - 9 years ago

    Well they already have the Nike+ Move app to work with the M7 processor of the iPhone 5S that’s awesome besides the fact it doesn’t sync fuel across the NikeFuel platforms and has been slightly buggy recently. Among many other Apple product apps and built in Nike features on Apple products. All the mockups of the iWatch released so far have looked suspiciously like a Nike Fuel Band with a touch screen basically, which makes this pretty interesting. Just will have to wait to see at WWDC 2014 and beyond though! Can’t wait!

  13. The wearables market will be interesting to watch. I wonder what’s going to happen with Android Wear