Nike has rejected claims it is to close its wearable devices business. It was reported that development of the Fuelband fitness tracker would end, following the sacking of staff responsible for the product.
The company informed members of the 70-employee hardware team - part of its larger technology-focused Digital Sport division - of the job cuts at the end of last week, Cnet reports, citing a person “familiar with the matter.”
Nike spokesperson Brian Strong said in an emailed statement: “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.”
Capable of tracking the walking and running of wearers, the Fuelband SE will remain on sale for now, the company confirmed, describing it as “an important part of our business,” and promising colour options in the future.
A post on Secret, the anonymous social network, surfaced before the Cnet story was published. It read: “The douchebag execs at Nike are going to lay off a bunch of the [engineering] team who developed the FuelBand, and other Nike+ stuff. Mostly because the execs committed gross negligence, wasted tons of money, and didn’t know what they were doing.”
Short of leaving the technology market entirely, Nike is expected to refocus its efforts on fitness monitoring software. That way, the company could use its Fuelband name for applications on various wearable gadgets from the likes of Samsung, LG, Motorola and Apple. - all of who have, or are expected to, reveal wearable gadgets this year.