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Wearable Tech

Microsoft Band out of fitness race this year, may not return

The company says there are no plans to introduce a new Microsoft Band fitness device this year.

It looks as though Microsoft really does intend to drop its line of fitness bands.

The latest evidence: Microsoft has removed all references to its Band fitness trackers from its online store.

A tipster who asked not to be named showed me a cached version of the Microsoft Online Store listing from yesterday, October 2, which included Band devices. Today, October 3, references to the Band devices are gone. (I've also heard anecdotally that Microsoft is removing remaining Band devices from some, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores, but have not verified that myself.)

Microsoft also removed the Band software development kit (SDK) from its developer site today, which isn't surprising given it's no longer selling Band 2 devices.

Microsoft is believed to have disbanded the software team that was looking to bring Windows 10 to the Band a couple months ago. I've gotten various tips that at least some of the Band hardware team members have dispersed, too, with some moving to other Microsoft hardware teams.

Even though sources of mine have said Microsoft is planning to phase out its fitness bands and has no plans to roll out a Band 3 device any time soon (or likely, ever), company officials still haven't completely conceded that it's the end of the line for Band.

I asked again today and have yet to get an updated statement from the company regarding when and why Band devices were removed from Microsoft's online stores. A spokesperson sent me the following statement:

"We have sold through our existing Band 2 inventory and have no plans to release another Band device this year. We remain committed to supporting our Microsoft Band 2 customers through Microsoft Stores and our customer support channels and will continue to invest in the Microsoft Health platform, which is open to all hardware and apps partners across Windows, iOS, and Android devices."

Microsoft's previous statement about the fitness tracker's future didn't mention it won't roll out a new Band this year, but did note that the company is continuing to explore the wearables space.

Microsoft recently rechristened its existing Microsoft "Health" apps as "Microsoft Band," possibly to pave the way for new, non-Band-dependent Health apps that work with its Health backend service.

Even though Microsoft could be completely dropping its Band hardware, the accompanying Microsoft Health service is not going away, as the statement above notes. Microsoft's plan, moving forward, is to push Microsoft Health as a service for obtaining health and fitness insights regardless of what type of devices and platforms to which it's connected.

This story originally posted as "Microsoft pulls Band listings from its Store; admits no Band 3 this year" on ZDNet.