Former Apple Watch rival Jawbone is entering liquidation

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Jawbone
Were you a Jawbone user?
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Electronics company Jawbone is reportedly closing shop after years of financial pressures.

Having started life in 1998, Jawbone initially made Bluetooth-equipped earpieces and wireless speaker, before transitioning into wearable devices for use in fitness tracking. It was best known for the UP series of wearable devices, and at its height was valued at a whopping $3 billion.

Alas, no more!

Instead Jawbone has reportedly entered into liquidation proceedings. The financial consultants Sherwood Partners will look after the liquidation process, as well as the continuing litigation against rival Fitbit. The pair have been battling back and forth since 2015, concerning patent infringement and the alleged stealing of trade secrets.

Right from the moment the Apple Watched was announced, however, Apple has seemed to be a bigger thorn in Jawbone’s side. The same year Jawbone started its legal action against Fitbit, its fitness trackers were temporarily booted out of the Apple store, reportedly to avoid possible market place confusion with the Apple Watch.

Although the UP bands eventually returned, Jawbone attempted to pivot to focus on being a software platform, rather than simply a hardware provider. In the aftermath of Apple’s original Apple Watch announcement, Jawbone announced a new “bandless” app that could provide Jawbone functionality using an iPhone or Apple Watch.

“From the beginning we realized as a company that we can’t build everything,” Bandar Antabi, head of special projects at Jawbone, told me shortly after the Apple Watch’s debut. “There are other great services, applications and productions out there. The key is finding the right way of integrating with this larger ecosystem, so that it becomes a win-win for everybody. The quicker this ecosystem can be built, the more users we’ll be able to bring in as an industry, and the more data points we’ll have to work with.”

From the ashes

Sadly, it seems that Jawbone never managed this. Despite an effort to pivot and become a more medical device-focused company, Jawbone is now closing shop. It stopped selling its standalone devices last September.

Jawbone CEO and co-founder Hosain Rahman is set to launch a new startup called Jawbone Health Hub, which employs a number of former Jawbone employees. It will supposedly focus on health-related hardware and software.

Were you a Jawbone user? Leave your comments below.

Source: The Information