CNet’s Nick Statt reports that Nike has laid off as many as 55 people in its Digital Sport hardware team, essentially ending development of the Fuelband and Nike+ sportswatch.
Sales of the Fuelband will continue, as will development of software, CNet saod. With the increasing sophistication of motion sensors built into phones themselves — particularly the iPhone 5S — Nike appears to have decided that the hardware business is not where it wants to be. (It’s also worth noting that the Nike+ smartphone app still doesn’t have an Android version, and that Apple CEO Tim Cook sits on Nike’s board.)
Nike’s spokesman did not deny layoffs to CNet, but did play down the number. Had the story been incorrect about ending Fuelband development, Nike certainly would have said so.
(Update: Re/Code on Sunday carries a non-denial denial from Nike, affirming that there were “a small number” of layoffs, and committing to continued sale of the Fuelband SE with new colors, and continued software development. No word on whether further hardware work is envisioned.)