Nike to Focus on ‘Digital Sport’ Software and Collaboration with Apple

In an interview on Friday, Nike CEO Mark Parker said the company is not giving up on its “digital sport” initiative with the apparent end of FuelBand and will instead focus on expansion of the NikeFuel ecosystem through high-profile partners like Apple.

Following a report that Nike had laid off a good portion of its FuelBand hardware team, Parker told CNBC that the company is looking to expand the reach of NikeFuel through partnerships with other companies.

When asked if Nike is planning to exit the wearable hardware market, Parker said, “We are focusing more on the software side of the experience. I think we will be part of wearables going forward.”


While the Nike chief did not confirm the FuelBand’s death, he did say there will be a stronger push on the software side of the company’s proprietary NikeFuel activity quantification and measurement system. There was some confusion, however, as Parker may have misspoke when he said there are some 30 million FuelBands in circulation, a number Nike hopes to boost to 100 million.

According to recent estimates from market research group NPD, as reported by MobiHealthNews, Nike’s fitness tracker accounted for only ten percent of $330 million in fitness tracker sales for 2013. Factoring in a $150 price tag, Nike sold roughly 220,000 FuelBands last year.

As for the possibility of an Apple designed device that includes NikeFuel such as the rumored iWatch, Parker was quiet on the subject.

“I will just say that the relationship between Nike and Apple will continue,” Parker said, also adding, “I am personally just like the rest of us at Nike very excited about what’s to come.”

Nike and Apple have collaborated on projects like Nike+iPod and more current Nike+app integration. Apple CEO Tim Cook has sat on Nike’s board for nine years, which likely played a role in the brand’s ability to stay on the cutting edge of fitness software incorporated into Apple products.

Kyron Timbs
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