Is Microsoft pulling out of the wearables market?

Hot on the heels of reports that Microsoft is to cease production on its Lumia range of smartphones, ZDnet is reporting that the company will also discontinue the Band fitness tracker. 

There currently have been no announcements from Microsoft on the future of the Band. The device – first introduced in 2014 and updated with Band 2 in 2015 – is due its annual update but thus far the company has kept schtum. 

In a statement made to ZDnet, a spokesperson said: "We continue to invest and innovate in the Microsoft Health platform, which is open to all hardware and apps partners across Windows, iOS, and Android devices. We also continue to sell Microsoft Band 2 and remain deeply committed to supporting our customers and exploring the wearables space.”

It is likely that Microsoft may now be less interested in selling fitness hardware themselves and instead prefer to focus on its cross-platform Health service, which works with a number of devices from third-party manufacturers and tracks your activities and sleep.

The report also claims that Microsoft had recently disbanded its internal group that was trying to get the Band to run Windows 10. 

This move would not be a surprise given the shift in hardware’s focus under CEO Satya Nadella who has promoted the idea of it having a ‘supporting role’, rather than attempting to compete with the likes of Apple. Since this edict was issued, Microsoft has focused its efforts on improving its productivity software and services.

With the economising of the company’s device production, it could be argued that Microsoft’s wearable experiment has proved to be a bit of a flop – especially when considering that the Band 2 is currently on sale at a 30 per cent discount. In addition, Microsoft has been plagued by quality issues with its wearable devices, as the skins on many users’ Bands have been splitting up.

With a somewhat milquetoast entry into the wearables space, it seems only a matter of time until Microsoft confirms that the Band isn’t getting back together.

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