Nike Runs Out of Fuel

Nike is apparently disbanding their Fuel Band group. This photo, (c) 2012 by Adam. Used under Creative Commons License from FLICKR. (Thanks)
Nike is apparently disbanding their Fuel Band group. The popular training/fitness aid provides a running stream of information about how much energy is being expended. This photo, (c) 2012 by Adam. Used under Creative Commons License via FLICKR. (Thanks)

Paying Attention: This is totally unexpected: Nike has dismissed the majority of the team that worked on/developed the Nike Fuel Band Activity monitor.
It’s one of the best of these types of health/wearables/software training devices around (Fitbit is one of the other big names in the space).
There appears to be some static about exactly why Nike de-horsed the Fuel Band group. Some are saying that Nike did not want to compete against software/hardware giants like Apple and Google, who have been rumored to be moving into the category….but as someone who has worked at Nike, I don’t believe that. Nike has never backed away from a tough challenge in the history of their business and, actually, much of their reputation is based on their ability to take on huge challenges and come out on top.
The story is that Nike might exit the hardware side and stay with the software they have developed….that also seems a bit out of step because Nike is a “hardware” company.  There is, however, a precedence. The company’s current software offerings in addition to Fuel Band is the very popular running program that’s built around the Nike+ GPS/Sensor. The sensor slips into specially designed Nike+ running shoes and logs information back into an app that runs on the Apple iPhone.  It’s an excellent training/tracking program that logs your miles, tracks your runs, gives you the chance to share your runs with friends and keeps you motivated to keep moving forward at speed (I use when running everyday and it was a major part of my training for a 5K run).
However it turns out, let’s hope that Nike doesn’t exit the digital training/tracking market. Their products are very good, stylish, and robust and it is the next step to add value to your sneakers and other pieces of athletic hardware. There will be more to come on this topic, but anyway you cut it, it’s a shock. If it’s true, the smart move is for Apple or Google to bring on the group that worked on Fuel Band en masse and gain an instant “operating manual” to the market segment.

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