Nike gets it: An operating system for fitness

May 1, 2014 at 11:10 AM
Nike Fitness Platform

Nike+ Fitness Platform

Software is steadily permeating and disrupting every industry in the world, but few companies are grasping it’s implications and even fewer are taking action today to be ahead tomorrow. There is however an example of a company which “gets” where the future is heading and has decided to take action to get there: Nike

Nike is not a software company in the traditional sense of the word but it is becoming one. A clear leader in the fitness band space the company recently decided to fire most of the team that works on it’s Fuel Band product. Some will see this a bad sign for wearables, but by choosing not to focus on hardware but on software instead Nike has shown incredible prescience. Despite having a successful team they decided to disrupt themselves before the market did; Nike will continue to make fitness tracking software but will partner with hardware makers instead to deliver devices, Apple probably being the biggest one.

With rapidly advancing technologies like 3D printing and the steady march of automation I firmly believe that eventually most physical goods and hardware will be extremely cheap, so cheap that it will be worthwhile to give it away when it comes to getting people on your service platform. All companies will have to be software companies in one way or another or at least seriously integrate it. Nike has probably decided to become *the* fitness platform of choice regardless of hardware. They are betting on their software being everywhere with the help of hardware partners. Indeed they have already taken steps towards this by opening up their Nike+ fitness tracking platform to startups.

Sounds like a familiar strategy? It makes complete sense to go beyond hardware and become a platform on which others can build on, innovate and make money. Just like people creating software for platforms like Android or Windows, Nike has decided to become, in so many words, an “operating system” for fitness.

“We are focusing more on the software side of the experience.”
– Mike Parker, Nike CEO  25/4/2014

Nike’s mission:

TO BRING INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION TO EVERY ATHLETE* IN THE WORLD
*IF YOU HAVE A BODY, YOU ARE AN ATHLETE