Fortune Magazine has a well-reported and cold-eyed look at Jawbone, maker of (among other things) the upcoming UP3 fitness band. It describes the company as a 16-year-old startup that skates from one rapidly commoditized success to another — Bluetooth headsets, wireless speakers, and now fitness bands. The picture it paints is of an innovative company that hasn’t quite figured out how to make much money:
Jawbone’s vision and style are groundbreaking. Whether it can avoid being left behind in the very categories it created is another matter altogether.
The business problem is described thusly, by an unnamed “close observer” of the company (who could be anyone from a cab driver to a hedge fundie to a board member to a competitor, though we’re betting on the last):
“Hosain [Rahman, Jawbone’s CEO] is trying to build a razor-and-blade business, but razors lose money, and his blades don’t exist.”