Jawbone Ends Tracker Production, May Sell Speakers, Reports Say

  • Company says it won’t sell the fitness tracker business
  • Forbes, Tech Insider reports cite unidentified sources

Jawbone Inc. is set to be a much smaller company, according to reports that it’s ending production of its fitness trackers and seeking buyers for its speaker business.

The closely held company has put its speaker business up for sale, Fortune said Friday, citing anonymous sources, in a report on its website. Later, Tech Insider reported that Jawbone has stopped production of its fitness trackers and sold its remaining inventory to a third-party reseller. Tech Insider also attributed its story to unidentified sources familiar with the matter.

A spokeswoman for Beverly Hills, California-based Jawbone declined to comment on the reports, but said the company isn’t selling the fitness-tracking business outright.

Jawbone and Fitbit Inc., pioneers in activity trackers, have struggled to grow as competition picks up in the wearable-technology market, an industry that tech giants including Apple Inc. and Google have set their sights on. In November, Jawbone cut 60 employees, or 15 percent of its workforce and closed its New York office.

Jawbone started early and was strong in the speaker and fitness-tracker markets, but suffered as it was undercut by cheaper competitors and the products became easily replicated, said Chris Jones, chief analyst at Canalys.

With Jawbone’s speakers, “it became pretty clear that was not really a sustainable market to be in profitably,” Jones said. “They would have just been chasing share and chasing down the price to maintain market share.”

Jawbone’s fitness trackers suffered from competition at both ends -- cheaper Chinese options and expensive, but more engaging smartwatches.

“You’ve got companies like Xiaomi in China with a $15 band and smartwatches now incorporating more of the technology from the activity trackers,” Jones said.

Jawbone raised $165 million in January at a lower valuation than it received during a previous round of fundraising, Re/Code reported.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.