Rumors surfaced over the weekend that Nike was disbanding its FuelBand hardware division to focus solely on fitness-related software. The athletic apparel giant responded to the news and admitted that while there were some layoffs, the company was still committed to the Nike+ FuelBand SE with plans to release new colors and sell it for the foreseeable future.
Nike’s response isn’t terribly reassuring as there is no mention of whether or not the company actually plans to release new products in the FuelBand line moving forward. At least one person with knowledge of the situation said Nike may simply want to clear out some old inventor or perhaps they still haven’t made a decision one way or another on what to do with the department.
Others claim Nike has been debating on what to do with the FuelBand for several months now. The division is reportedly expensive to run, presents manufacturing challenges and doesn’t bring in adequate margins. What’s more, the company has had a tough time trying to recruit high-level engineering talent to work on the device.
The timing is especially interesting as Apple is expected to unveil its iWatch later this month. Some believe Nike may be winding down development of the FuelBand with plans to provide software to Apple’s upcoming wearable instead.
There’s actually some credibility to this theory as Apple CEO Tim Cook is on Nike’s board of directors and the executive has been seen wearing a FuelBand in public at times.