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October 11, 2016

Microsoft: no Band 3 this year, remains committed to health services

Another blow for Microsofts mobile strategy: the company will no longer put any effert into its fitness wearable Microsoft Band. Microsoft released a statement through ZDnet saying it will not develop another Band this year and that is has sold through the existing Band 2 inventory. However, Microsoft also says it will remain commited to its health platform.

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Microsoft hasn’t had a Lucky hand lately when it comes to its mobile and wearable strategy. Windows Mobile, later Windows Phone got any traction in the smartphone market, ruled by Android and Apple. Windows 10 as a last attempt to grap market share on the smartphone market with an end-to-end OS, basically failed. The mobile hardware division (Lumia smartphones) it bought from Nokia in 2013 has been written off.

The new blow is the discontinouing of the Band fitness wearable, first launched in October 2014. The Band was no stand alone device, it was accompanied by an online ‘Health’ app that gave advice based on monitored body functions.  The Band 2 was launched earlier this year with of course more features and possibiities and a bigger surrounding eco system.

Though Microsoft still has the Band website in the air, ZDnet beleives that the Company has all but given up on this fitness wearable. The Band and all references to it disappeared from the company’s online stores in early October. Removal from brick-and-mortar stores was mentioned, but not yet certain. Also not certain but probable is that Microsoft disbanded the software team that was looking to bring Windows 10 to the Band a couple months ago.

Official statement

ZDnet later came with an official Microsoft statement: ‘We have sold through our existing Band 2 inventory and have no plans to release another Band device this year. We remain committed to supporting our Microsoft Band 2 customers through Microsoft Stores and our customer support channels and will continue to invest in the Microsoft Health platform, which is open to all hardware and apps partners across Windows, iOS, and Android devices.’

So a Band 3 doesn’t seem to be coming anywhere soon, seriously limiting Microsofts possibilities to become another Apple in personalised healthcare for scientists, medical professionals and consumers. Microsoft will however continu to explore the wearable space.

Not giving up on health

Also, it’s not giving up on healthcare completely.  Microsoft recently rechristened its existing Microsoft ‘Health’ apps as "Microsoft Band", perhaps to pave the way for new, non-Band-dependent Health apps that work with its Health backend service. The accompanying Microsoft Health service is not going away either. Microsoft’s plan, it seems, is to push Microsoft Health as a service for obtaining health and fitness insights regardless of what type of devices and platforms to which it’s connected.

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