Nike?s FuelBand team, specifically its engineers, is the apple ? of ? the ? eye of high ? profile tech companies as they race to conquer emerging categories like the wearable technology. The company fired many of its wearable ? hardware team. CEO Mark Parker confirmed today that Nike is shifting to software, but many FuelBand employees are staying on until the end of May.
Nest, acquired by Google for $3.2 billion in January, is among the tech firms lining up to woo the Nike employees who were let go. The maker of Internet ? connected smoke detectors and smart thermostats conducted an impromptu interview at a local hotel to assess the interests of FuelBand engineers in joining the company in Palo Alto, California. Intel, Microsoft, and virtual ? reality maker Oculus VR are also wooing FuelBand hardware members.
Recruiters of Apple have also been eyeing the Nike Digital Sport members ever since Nike started developing the FuelBand in 2011.It remains unclear whether the sportswear company has built a relationship with Apple on the latter?s rumored wearable. However, Parker has already hinted at a partnership, telling CNBC Friday, “I will say that the relationship between Nike and Apple will continue. And I am, personally, as we all are at Nike, very excited about what’s to come.”
So, what do these companies want from the architects of an activity tracker?
Oculus VR, acquired by Facebook for $2 billion, is eager to expand as it tries to take its virtual reality headset and come up with a consumer product soon. The FuelBand engineers can accelerate the process with their years of wearable tech experience. Google ? owned Nest is now working on the possibility of new wearables for Google, while Intel is planning to deliver its own line of wearable technology this year.
Microsoft is beginning to take significant steps into the wearables market through its New Devices division. The software giant was rumored to be working on a Glass competitor, called Kinect Glasses. With its recent intellectual property purchases from wearable manufacturer Osterhout Design Group, the FuelBand engineers are more likely to be on Microsoft?s radar.
Despite the layoff, the engineers who dedicated years in bringing Nike to the forefront of the market will seem to continue pushing the wearable frontier. It was not such a bad news, after all.