Is an Apple-Nike partnership in the works? - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Is an Apple-Nike partnership in the works?

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It's a simple thing, really, the rubber and stainless steel band that a well-known CEO frequently wears around his wrist.

But the Nike FuelBand that Apple's Tim Cook has been seen sporting at multiple public events is just one clue about a possible deal between Apple and Nike that could be part of the sales pitch when a rumored Apple watch hits the market.

Late on Friday came a news report that Nike had laid off much of the team responsible for the FuelBand and would not continue to update the line.

Nike had planned to release a new, thinner FuelBand in the fall, but those plans have reportedly been shelved and the company won't say whether there will be a new one. Nike has said it plans to continue supporting the current FuelBand for the "forforeseeableture" and that new color options will be available.

Nike told tech blog Re/code that only a "small number" of staffers were laid off and said it remains committed to the Fuel line of fitness products.
Still, the retreat seems odd for a company that has made its name in sports equipment -- and has led to speculations that Nike may be working on a new partnership with Apple.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been on Nike's board of directors for almost a decade now, and that strategic partnership has manifested in some curious ways, like Nike's decision to make the FuelBand incompatible with Google's Android.

"Apple is in the hardware business. Nike is in the sneaker business. I don't think Apple sees Nike as competitive," Jim Duffy, a Nike analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, told CNET. "Nike would be content to let Apple sell devices, as long as they would be supportive of the apps."

Neither Nike nor Apple have responded to requests for comment.

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