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Lessons Learned from the Nike+ Fuelband Exit by Sam Welch

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According to a May 2014 CNET report, Nike recently laid off a majority of their Fuelband staff, which signaled the end of the Nike+ Fuelband. This came only two years after Nike launched the new hardware, turning wearable health trackers from fad into a thriving industry.

Nike said that they will continue to focus on fitness tracker software – an area the company has been involved in since 2006 – and many still wonder what caused them to leave the market so quickly. The reasons are numerous, but here are a few things we can learn:

  • Be willing to adapt: Although Nike may have been a critical force that lead to the current success of wearable devices, they quickly fell behind on the technologies that their competitors brought. New tech added sleeping monitors, heart monitors and other data capabilities that Nike did not put into its second gen device.
  • Manage expectations: Upon launch, Nike promised an app for Android users ‘soon.’ However, a year later, the company started tweeting that they had stopped development of an Android app with little explanation.
  • Know when it’s time to leave: Considering the market is quickly becoming saturated with big names like LG and Samsung, and newcomers such as Misfit, Nike decided to focus on advancing its already impressive software – which has led to rumors of their involvement in an anticipated Apple iWatch.
  • Have an exit strategy: Upon confirming its departure, Nike stated they’d continue working on their software and supporting their current devices, lending some confidence to current devices owners that they would not go ignored.

Written by Sam Welch, Global Group President for Publicis Healthcare