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Microsoft has seemingly killed off its Band series of smartwatches, marking the exit of the only major enterprise vendor in the wearables space.
As of today, Microsoft has removed all references of Band devices from its Microsoft Store. The vendor also removed the Band software development kit (SDK).
According to Mary Jo Foley of ZDnet, who originally broke the story, the Band hardware team has also been dissolved.
A spokesperson told Foley: "We have sold through our existing Band 2 inventory and have no plans to release another Band device this year.”
The revelation will serve as a blow to those waiting for the emergence of mainstream enterprise wearables. To date, much of the focus has been on the consumer market, when it comes to wearables; but research suggests that the enterprise will play an increasingly important role as the technologies mature – particularly in areas such as manufacturing, logistics, healthcare and retail. While the Band’s remit was primarily focused on personal health, Microsoft’s departure from the wearables space could ultimately impede enterprise uptake.
Despite predictions, wearables have struggled to gain any real traction in the enterprise space. According to a report from Kony, published last month, developers are struggling to make the leap from consumer to business focused applications.
The company polled more than 230 global developers from leading brands in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Nearly three quarters of respondents said that designing for the enterprise wearables market was a challenge, with 40% citing a lack of communication between developers and IT stakeholders as one of the top challenges.
“Forward-thinking enterprises are eager to take advantage of the wealth of new devices and form factors entering the market today, but capitalising on these innovations remains a challenge for today’s mobile app design and development teams,” said Dave Shirk, president of Products, Strategy and Marketing, Kony.
Even the most successful wearable to date – the Apple Watch – is struggling. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple Watch sales will decline in 2016, despite the launch of a revamped Apple Watch Series 2 and price cuts for the first generation model.