Last week we heard the rumor that Nike was scaling down its FuelBand hardware team and shifting its focus to the associated software and underlying platform. Now CEO Mark Parker has told CNBC that the sports giant is indeed concentrating on software development as it looks to grow the userbase of its NikeFuel tracking system.
Whether or not that vision includes future versions of the FuelBand remains to be seen, but Parker did say that Nike would be teaming up with other companies in the years to come. Apple is one of Nike’s closest partners, and Parker said his company is “excited to see where that relationship will go forward… the relationship between Apple and Nike will continue.”
Parker said that one of his goals was to increase NikeFuel user numbers from 30 million to 100 million, but he dodged questions on Nike’s involvement in a future iWatch from Apple. With the fitness tracking market becoming increasingly crowded, it would make sense for Nike to team up with a bigger hardware partner rather than continue to produce its own devices. Apple CEO Tim Cook serves on the Nike board, and the companies have a long history of partnering together on hardware and apps. It’s also worth noting that Nike’s FuelBand app isn’t available on Android.
When asked directly whether Nike was getting out of the hardware business, Parker responded: “We are focusing more on the software side of the experience. I think we will be part of wearables going forward, it’ll be integrated into other products that we create and then we’ll look at expanding our partnerships to create more reach for the NikeFuel system.”
If you’re a FuelBand user, it looks like you don’t have to worry about the digital NikeFuel platform disappearing any time soon, but it’s more likely that Nike will be focusing on the long-awaited iWatch rather than its own wearable technology in future years.
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