back to article Microsoft disbands Band band – and there'll be no version 3

“Devices come and go,” mused Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella this March, discussing the wearables market. Now Nadella can notch up another hardware kill. Microsoft, the only enterprise vendor with a wearable platform, has confirmed it has no plans to launch a third version of its activity wearable, the Microsoft Band. Reports also …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They couldn't shrink it down from the size of a Dell Inspiron.

  2. djstardust

    As I have said a million times

    Microsoft have no strategy.

    Partners are let down, customers are let down.

    How they are still in business simply amazes me!

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Don't forget Skype hardware dropped

    Smart TV, Skypephone, and WP 7-8.1 support dropped leaving behind useless cameras (unless they are compatible with a PC webcam), useless handsets, and useless mobiles if you bought them for that feature.

  4. FuzzyWuzzys
    Facepalm

    Great marketing

    Must have been marketed well, I never heard of it until now and I know at least 5 people with FitBits.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To clunky

    Tested it, the technology was great. But its not suitable for every day use. Especially the 'knob' at the fastener was very uncomfortable. At the end ibougt a garmin vivosmart hr. Now, after many software woes, this is a slightly good device.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't forget Skype hardware dropped

      "And Microsoft doesn't really make those any more, either"

      They certainly do still make phones. Microsoft recently confirmed new models are coming soon:

      https://mspoweruser.com/microsoft-corporate-vp-confirms-their-next-phone-will-be-high-end-and-category-innovating/

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget Skype hardware dropped

        >They certainly do still make phones. Microsoft recently confirmed new models are coming soon:

        Guess that means they are still comfortable pissing money away. The sad thing is due to once again monkey Ballmer having zero vision they actually gave the original smartphone market away a decade ago with little regard.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't forget Skype hardware dropped

          "Guess that means they are still comfortable pissing money away"

          Blackberry used to make lots of money just targeting corporates. The FTSE I work for recently replaced 5,000 Blackberry devices with Windows Phones (Lumia 640) which has been widely considered as a success here so I can see that Microsoft might succeed in mobile in corporate, even if not yet in the consumer sector...

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget Skype hardware dropped

        So you're saying don't worry about your old Skype-less non-upgradable 8.1 phone (not all Lumias are upgradable), buy a new more expensive one with a shit UI from us.

        MS pleasing customers as always.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge
      Joke

      The new model of Windows phone -is- a Dell Inspiron. Running Skype.

    3. Don Dumb

      Re: Great marketing

      @FuzzyWuzzys - Not sure why the downvotes, I hadn't heard of 'Band' either.

      Stellar marketing job there MS

    4. King Jack
      Mushroom

      Re: As I have said a million times

      How they are still in business? Idiots can't get it into their heads that M$ creates things, fails to market them then abandons it. Expecting the idiots to buy into the next M$ 'new-thing'. And guess what they do, expecting a different result.

    5. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: As I have said a million times

      How they are still in business simply amazes me!

      Incumbency in a handful of very large, reasonably mature markets?

  6. 0laf Silver badge

    another brown bag on it's way for Nadella

    Most people associate wearables with types of phone, Fitbit and Garmin being an exception. But since no one buys Winpho any more why would they buy a Windows wearable?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: another brown bag on it's way for Nadella

      So other than all the leading feature-rich wearables - Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin, 'most' people associate wearables with phone OS?

    2. Naselus

      Re: another brown bag on it's way for Nadella

      "But since no one buys Winpho any more why would they buy a Windows wearable?"

      Because no-one buys any other wearables either?

  7. AMBxx Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Unbelievable

    Last week, they renamed Microsoft Health as Microsoft Band. This week they drop the Band? Don't they discuss anything internally?

    I had a Band 1 - not comfortable enought to wear all the time, but useful. That broke, so after a refund I went for a Band 2. Over about 6 months MS added some really useful extras - I do a lot of walking, so the trekking option was great as it used much less battery than running. Also gave an automatic GPS trackpoint every time I stopped - great for photographs as my SLR doesn't have GPS.

    Now they've dropped it ffs????

    How long until they drop their augmented reality goggles?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Unbelievable

      Worth buying a band 2 cheap then? Is lack of support a big deal if the features are already good?

      I have a v1 and liked it other than the dire battery life when cycling with GPS, I thought the v2 looked great.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Unbelievable

        Yes, V2 is good. Buy it on Amazon in case you get one with a duff strap. They'll refund if it goes wrong.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    So I guess...

    The Microsoft band banded together to witness the disbanding of the Microsoft Band band before they could jump on the bandwagon? I wonder how long it'll take them before they're getting the band back together.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: So I guess...

      For a comment like that you should be banned.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So I guess...

      Nah, I think they've fallen off the wagon by now..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So I guess...

        For a comment like that you should be banned.

        Piffle. It's for stuff like that that people actually read the comments :)

    3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: So I guess...

      Not to worry, a piece of band-aid should fix it nicely.

  9. Scary Biscuits

    Nadella, really has no clue what he is doing. He comes from the cloud area of Microsoft, which Ballmer criticised for publishing 'bullshit' results, i.e. not being honest about how crap they are. Office, the cash cow for now, struggles on, repeatedly re-writing the back-end to keep the programmers busy whilst neglecting the customer, downgrading the front end functionality. Windows 10 is still a mess, stable (at the third attempt) but visually all over the place and lacking any real innovation, steadily losing ground to Linux. Hardware is a disaster across the board. The Xbox One lags woefully behind the PS4. The Surface Book/Pro 4 made a Fiat from the 1980s look reliable. Lumina has disappeared due to management just not caring. Now ditto the Band.

    What SadNad doesn't seem to get as he converts Microsoft into the new IBM, is that no matter how profitably the enterprise market is for now, sooner or later what is consumer today becomes the enterprise. By abandoning consumers and letting this side of the business wither he is flattering financial results today whilst destroying long term shareholder value. But that's what you get I suppose when you replace company founders with a greasy pole climber.

    Come back, Steve, all is forgiven!

    1. JLV Silver badge
      Happy

      >Come back, Steve, all is forgiven!

      OK, wanting Big Steve back is going a bit far.

      But otherwise, yes, correct. And even with the enterprise MS is too wont to start up products and then kill them off - Silverlight being a blatant example.

      i.e. product by product there is really nothing wrong with looking at a business line's results and killing it off.

      The problem is with the aggregate, when you do it too often.

      MS has amply demonstrated that it is not willing to go the distance and provide stability in its new offerings. As a consumer, does it make sense to invest $$ in a product with a supporting ecosystem that might very well go away?

      You can do that with a dumb watch - who cares if the manufacturer is around in 5 years? But what about that $200 smart watch that you've spent another $100 buying apps for and tons of time putting data into those apps? Buy a smartwatch, if you really, really have to, from a company who only does those instead - like Pebble.

      The risks of choosing a soon-to-be-abandoned hobbycat of course goes double with enterprise technologies and developer frameworks.

      Google does much the same thing - but mostly gets away with it by calling everything Beta ;-).

      So... MS... get it into less things, even though diversifying from Office and Windows is key. And, try to stay the distance, even when an individual product has developed not necessarily to your advantage.

      Azure is a pretty strong bet for them, I'd _somewhat_ trust them there and wrt its surrounding offerings. But not much elsewhere.

      p.s. to be fair to Satnad, the Windows 8 trainwreck, which started Windows' public perception downhill, was launched well under Big Steve's captaincy.

  10. Alister Silver badge

    Reports also suggest Microsoft’s own internal Band unit has been disbanded.

    Maybe they'll band together and form a company. They could use the tag line:

    "We're putting the Band back together"

    1. joeW Silver badge

      "We're putting the Band back together"

      "Are you with the police?"

      "No ma'am. We're developers."

  11. Mike Taylor

    Disappointing, again

    I have one, bought one on the spur of the moment. Good price point, good product.

  12. James 51 Silver badge

    The UV sensor was interesting but didn't want to tie myself to a windows phone. Glad I held off now.

    1. The Original Steve

      One of the best features was the band worked on iOS, Android and WinPho.

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Pebble works on iOS and Android. Kinda works on win phone but doesn't have call/text notifications so not that useful.

  13. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

    It looks Nadella is shutting down...

    .... any group that refuses to hire one of his cousins. Many more to come...

  14. cortland

    I was once present while

    The vice president of my employer's corporate division told an all-hands meeting – with a straight face – that [we*] can't make money selling hardware

    I am still wondering if she meant that as an admission or an order.

    *To protect the guilty.

  15. Milton Silver badge

    No mention of the Xbox

    ... but I guess that makes sense. I'm not a gamer, but my son has the latest Xbox and a PS4. A couple of years ago I indulged his interest and built him a gaming PC, which turned out to be seriously powerful—and of course, upgradable, since you can add more GPU, more RAM, bigger/faster drives whenever needed. Since the PC was first switched on more than a year ago, I think he's used the consoles perhaps once a month.

    I'm not aware whether Microsoft's clumsy attempt to make the latest Xbox into an entertainment hub was at all successful—I'm guessing not: we already have a remote, and who needs even more layers of hardware in the living room?—but it does seem as if the Windows 10 malpractice was a matter of desperation, if that is to be MS's only remaining chance to keep hold of the customer's wallet.

    I'm kinda surprised Redmond's lawyers haven't by now manufactured some kind of case alleging that Linux really belongs to Microsoft ... it could be the company's last chance.

  16. Steve the Cynic

    Other items for the list of defunct Microsoft hardware:

    * I won't include the old mice because there are still new mice.

    * I won't include the various Xboxes and controllers because there are still new ones

    * I will include Mach 20. Read a teeny bit about it here: http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow/story/300240/the-secret-history-of-microsoft-hardware/10

    * I will include Microsoft's very first hardware products, expansion cards for the Apple II. A couple are mentioned here: http://www.applelogic.org/PeripheralCards.html

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @Steve the Cynic: I'll not hear a word said against MS mice and keyboards. I still use my trusty Microsoft USB keyboard-with-built-in-hub and MS mouse of uncertain but ancient vintage, and to this day if I'm buying mice it's MS first, then Logitech, then - a distant third - anyone else.

      1. Steve the Cynic

        I agree. All I meant was that the whole "Mice By Microsoft" thing is still going, so they don't count as "defunct".

  17. Falmari
    Unhappy

    Real shame

    Real shame its a nice piece of kit works well straight out the box.

    Has all the features on it I need (basically fitness).

    Works well with my Win phone and PC.

    One (Novelty) feature I really like is that you can map your runs and then display them on you phone. On the pc you can zoom and see an aerial view of the run.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Madness....

    ...this is one of the best ones for the price out there.

    Stupid idea.

  19. DHBI

    I may be in a small minority here owning two Lumias, a Surface Pro 3 and a Band (1) but I'm really happy with them all. That's enough about me. Over the last 18 months I've completely trashed my Band as I clock up a lot of mountain and street miles through running and cycling. I've been waiting expectantly for Band 3 and have been getting ready for the let-down for a while - you don't get to be as big a Microsoft (and Nokia) fan as I am without being ready for the let-downs!

    So, what will I do? Well, I want an activity logger that does everything that the Band does, as well as the swimming thing. I want the steps, the hearbeats, the notifications, etc, etc, etc. Band 3 already exists. It's called the Garmin VivoSmart HR+ and has been around for a few months. It even works on Windoes (most of the time). I'm buying one tomorrow. Microsoft were using Band to learn about wearables and IoT. As the article says, they (bizarrely) nailed it. Apart from the economics of being a Windows-based platform.

    https://buy.garmin.com/en-GB/GB/wearables/wearables/vivosmart-hr-/prod548743.html

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Late to the party...

      I am a bit late to the party here, but as my Band1 expired recently, I also have bought a Garmin.

      I liked the Band1 up to a point (paired with my iPhone 6S), but it was not that comfortable to wear and battery life was not great. The polymer used for the strap/battery covering also dissolves in sweat/suncream/air etc. and peels off after about 3 months, and then the strap attachments started to fail .

      I too was waiting to see what the Band 3 brought, since a waterproof/resistant device is a priority for me. More of these have now landed from othe manufacturers.

      If you are with Prudential Vitality Health you can currently get a decent discount off quite a few wearables - which can also help your premiums if you (optionally) allow it to gather data via the relevant dashboard.

      I got 40% off my Garmin - a saving of 80% off list price.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: Late to the party...

        Sorry to reply to myself but noticed my typo.

        40% off is £80 off list price, not 80% obviously....

  20. asdf Silver badge

    can do attitude

    >“Devices come and go,” mused Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella this March

    An attitude you definitely need to have if your company is responsible for foisting the Kin on the world. Helps being able to piss away billions as well.

  21. Erik4872

    Microsoft = IBM

    Microsoft is becoming the new IBM. IBM only stays in a business if they can make obscene margins or have a guaranteed locked-in revenue stream. Therefore it doesn't make sense to sell one-off consumer hardware unless you can lock the user into paying for it over an over again in terms of subscriptions.

    Examples:

    - Windows, Office -- obscene margins because they can sell the same product billions of times for no incremental cost, and now they're charging for subscriptions (Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise.)

    - Azure - obscene margins because all they have to do is build data centers and the control plane once, and locked in revenue by charging monthly for Azure resource usage.

    - Server software -- guaranteed lock-in and revenue stream (software assurance, etc.) plus everyone is being funneled slowly into Azure -- I think the long term goal is to make it uncomfortable enough to run on-premises Windows Server that most companies will just move to Azure.

    There's a reason why IBM doesn't sell PCs, printers, storage, or x86 servers anymore -- they can't make massive profits on them even if they do feed into larger deals.

  22. redpawn Silver badge

    They Missed an Opportunity

    They could have required users to wear one in order to log into Windows 10. Built in bio-metrics could authenticate the user while they slurp health data. They should have given them away with Windows and come out ahead at the bank. You'd see thousands of them around town. They'd be the most used fitness device ever.

  23. davidak
    Coat

    They should really produce a band 3. They have after all only scratched the surface.

  24. scubaal

    broke it

    had one for two weeks. Dropped it on concrete - twice - was ok. Then smashed the screen on the cover of an outboard motor I was fitting (true). No repairs possible. Decided I wasn't the target demographic for any fragile expensive gizmo on my wrist.

    NB Seiko 30 year old mechanical watch has survived my lifestyle with one service/rebuild - including trips to 60 metres underwater - although I am dreading the day when there are no more watchmakers in town. (ie real ones).

  25. Jakester

    A Typical Microsoft Trend

    The short life of many Microsoft products is why I avoid them whenever possible. The exception is Windows and Office, which is only because businesses I support have programs they are locked into that are Windows based and the administrators feel that Microsoft Office is the only acceptable word processing and spreadsheet solution because of "compatibility". I, too, have a couple programs that are Windows specific (one must be run on XP).

    A couple Microsoft flops I got myself into:

    Windows ME - I bought a computer with Windows ME a couple weeks after a television tech program felt it was a good upgrade of the Windows 98 tree. The week after I bought it, the same tech program rescinded its recommendation amidst many reports of stability issues. I struggled with ME for about a year before putting 98SE on the system.

    Zune - Got a good price (I thought), but Microsoft programmers gave little control of how audio files could be played. If an audio file was more than a few minutes, it was treated as a podcast and you had to start the following selection manually. I struggled with tech support for 2 days, about 4 hours per day. The final resolution by Microsoft was to wait for a soon to follow update. When I deleted the files off the Zune, it deleted the source audio files from my computer. I took it back to the store for a refund.

    Bob - no explanation needed here. If you haven't heard of it - Google it. Among the worst products Microsoft produced.

    Kin - sold for 2 months, then dropped.

    Front Page - I didn't know much about Front Page, but a consultant highly recommended to a fairly new web designer to design a new web page for the company she worked for in Front Page. She spent a few months developing a fairly complex web page, but could never get it to work quite right - there were compatibility issues with various browsers in various parts of the website. The ISP dropped support for Front Page extensions because of server-side issues. I'm not sure how long Microsoft continued to "support" Front Page. Since I don't do web design, I don't know what Microsoft now provides nor how well they may or may not work. I also don't care.

    Various compilers - I bought one of the early macro assembly compilers which was supposed to make programming "automatic". The Microsoft idea of "automatic" was to create a comment for about 4 sections of the program - things like declarations, subroutines, the code itself, and something else (this was more than 25 years since I last compiled anything on it. The big problem with the Microsoft compilers at that time is there was no reliable Microsoft product to edit the source code without error - their editors (including Word, saving as text), would randomly put in a double <CR> then a <LF> instead of the <CR><LF> at the end of the line. The assembler would ignore the line after the double <CR>.

    Windows 8.0 - I needed to get familiar with it to potentially help a couple businesses I support. Fortunately, those businesses had software that was not compatible with Windows 8.0 or 8.1. Those large corporations that rolled out 8.0 had to really struggle to then try to roll-out 8.1 when Microsoft initially gave a short period to upgrade to 8.1 since they were dropping support for 8.0.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More Microsoft Landfill.

    It seems like everything they do these days is a dismal failure.

    Windows Phone

    Xbox One

    Surface

    Windows 8/8.1/10

    Office365

    and now the band

    Do they have anything half decent? Even their developer tools seem pretty crap, TFS is no better than Sourcesafe, and looks embarrassing compared to enterprise GIT based solutions like Github Enterprise and Stash.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: More Microsoft Landfill.

      I don't think that Office 365 or Surface can be classified as failures?

      The Surface 3 or 4 are well-regarded for their build quality and features in the tech press.

  27. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "Devices come and go."

    So do CEOs.

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