Disbanded: Microsoft Confirms It Will Not Sell a Band 3

Posted on October 3, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft-Band with 71 Comments

Disbanded: Microsoft Confirms It Will Not Sell a Band 3

Nearly three weeks after we first broke the story, Microsoft has confirmed that it will not ship a Microsoft Band 3 wearable in 2016. It also confirmed that it had fire-saled Band 2 throughout the year in order to clear out remaining inventory.

“We have sold through our existing Band 2 inventory and have no plans to release another Band device this year,” a Microsoft statement obtained by Mary Jo Foley reads. “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.”

Thurrott.com’s Brad Sams was the first to report on this story, on September 13, when he wrote that “Microsoft is not planning to announce a Band 3 this year.” The firm also told Brad that it would continue “exploring the wearables space,” confirming information from a source who told him that Microsoft had future wearables in the works, but not Microsoft Band products.

As I noted a week later in Microsoft Band on the Run (Premium Only), Microsoft’s Band defeat comes at a bad time: Apple literally just tied the success of its Apple Watch, the only major new product launched under Tim Cook, to fitness and health.

But the problems with Microsoft Band are, and were, many. Both generations of the product have suffered from endemic reliability issues, a problem that seems to dog most Microsoft hardware products, and few third parties ever supported the Band or the back-end Microsoft Health service.

In any event, I’ve heard via Twitter—and Mary Jo reports over on ZDNet—the Band 2 has disappeared from Microsoft’s retail stores. And Mary Jo also hears that the Band team has been—wait for it—disbanded.

And if you are for some reason upset about this change, I’ll just say this: As I discovered back in May, a less inexpensive Fitbit Alta does pretty much everything the Band 2 does, but it delivers 7-8 days of battery life. Something to consider.

 

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55 Comments
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  1. 5 | Reply
    Polycrastinator Alpha Member #163 - 2 months ago

    "Hmm, a Band 3 story. What stock photo will perfectly encapsulate the feeling of disappointment and longing for a missed opportunity that we will not see that product. I know, 2 people lying naked together on a bed, with a soft filter, light streaming through the window. One of them is very disappointed..."

     

    Seriously, Paul, I'd love to know your thought process on that picture.

    1. 0 | Reply
      Sarge Alpha Member #699 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      One of my favorite places for a workout, it's all about the fitness tracking :-)

  2. 5 | Reply
    Sarge Alpha Member #699 - 2 months ago

    I must say I am getting tired of attempting to live in the MS ecosystem and getting abandoned.  I understand how MS got it's lunch eaten in music devices and phones, but I thought fitness based hardware they might have a role to play and stick with it.  After going through this cycle again with the Band 1 & 2, I guess I might be finally smartening up and will stay away from any new MS hardware.  I was just getting to know the golf feature on my band and thought it has some nice promise.

    It must suck to be a developer (hardware or software) on these teams and watch MS screw up and kill product lines that they put a lot of effort into.

    1. 4 | Reply
      wolters Alpha Member #390 - 2 months ago

      "I am getting tired of attempting to live in the MS ecosystem and getting abandoned."


      I feel your pain...I do...this is why I've had to diversify. When Windows 8 came out, I went all in...ALL in...PC, Tablet, Phone, ecosystem...I lived with the quirks and growing pains. Lived with the XBOX Music hell we went through. Used Hubs on Windows Phone only to have it taken away. Used Zune, Used Windows Media Center, Used Band/Band 2, XBOX.

      How, I have Windows 10 main PC/Media/File Server at home, Surface Book as daily driver, Samsung Note 7 for Phone, Combo of OneDrive, Amazon and Google Photos for cloud, use Amazon Echo (Alexa), PLEX as a Media Center. Sure, I'd still love to be in or mostly in a Microsoft Ecosystem but there is no way to do it anymore. 

  3. 2 | Reply
    scumdogmillionaire - 2 months ago

    Let's count how many devices MS has abandoned me with:

     

    Microsoft Sidewinder gaming products

    Microsoft Fingerprint reader

    Zune

    Microsoft Home Networking (Routers)

    Windows Phone

    Microsoft Band

     

    At some point I guess it need to just stop buying into this stuff! :P

    1. 0 | Reply
      TheGreatWalther Alpha Member #2035 - 2 months ago

      Surface RT?

    2. 1 | Reply
      wolters Alpha Member #390 - 2 months ago
      In reply to TheGreatWalther:

      Windows Media Center

      Windows Home Server

      Do I DARE retroactively say the consumer verion of HoloLens? 

      And I have to add Bing Food and Drink...I LOVED this app and entered over 100 personal entries only to have it removed had to 1 by 1 save them and no bulk export. 

    3. 0 | Reply
      scumdogmillionaire - 2 months ago
      In reply to wolters:

      Oh yeah! Had home server, too! The HP Media Smart! Good call :)

    4. 0 | Reply
      Simard57 Alpha Member #631 - 2 months ago
    5. 0 | Reply
      scumdogmillionaire - 2 months ago
      In reply to TheGreatWalther:

      Oh yeah! Had one of those!

    6. 0 | Reply
      kitron Alpha Member #1895 - 2 months ago
      In reply to scumdogmillionaire:

      I guess if it is not built by Panay's team it gets killed.  We all watched last surface launch event and noted how they announced Band 2 and 950 line. It was all in passing, there was no excitement. Even though I thought that was weird it still did not stop me from basically throwing around 1k on this hardware.  I know I am the fool here but you know what they say about that. I won't recommend any of their products or buy anything unless I see these guys are serious. Btw did.anyone ever see any.marketing for the band or 950 Lumia line?

    7. 0 | Reply
      wolters Alpha Member #390 - 1 month ago
      In reply to kitron:

      The only thing I remember about promoting the BAND was the Microsoft Health website...it was quite nice with very good videos on the BAND in use. I used to get people to purchase the BAND...

    8. 0 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 2 months ago
      In reply to scumdogmillionaire:

      Way to pick a winner there.

    9. 0 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 2 months ago
      In reply to scumdogmillionaire:

      ...or if you'd rather:

      Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me - you can't get fooled again.

  4. 2 | Reply
    mmcpher Alpha Member #245 - 2 months ago

    I've had and used the original Band and then the Band 2 since the first day they were available. Microsoft has a way of rewarding loyalty by turning it's customers into contrarians, at least so far as market share goes.  But I am generally very happy with the Band 2.  I was hesitent when it came out, because my Band was still operational and I was unsure the upgrades justified the expense.  But I'm glad I bought it and have found the build quality fine, the battery life better and the screen and comfort (relative to the original Band) rewarding.  I don't mind the bulk and weight of it.  I like to be reminded that I have it on, to keep moving, etc.  The app, though still a little awkard, is also considerably better.  One thing I would have liked to have seen was for the Band 2 to integrate weather conditions into the calory burn calculations.   

    I'm content to stick with the Band 2 for now and will watch (groan) with interest the anticipated announcement of Microsoft's alliance with a third party manufacturer to release a "Band 3" though it might be called something else.  

     

  5. 2 | Reply
    tbsteph Alpha Member #206 - 2 months ago

    Other than maybe the Xbox One (S), I'm hard pressed to identify a recent hardware device sold by Microsoft that did (does) not have a serious flaw - both generation of Band's being examples.  This state of affairs seems to go hand in hand with multiple software malfunctions found in Windows 10 (USB cameras, for one).

    I firmly believe their are a lot of smart people working for Microsoft that have the capability to design, construct and support devices/software meant for the consumer. But, there also seems to be a culture driven by those in charge where seeking excellence in all things Microsoft is absent. Instead, get it out the door and we will fix it later, seems more likely to be their mantra. Keep burning people who trust you (Microsoft) will cause further attrition to competitors. (Yes, I know, these competitors are not perfect either. But, they seem more engaged in making things that work out of the box).  Trust is difficult to earn but, easy to lose - almost forever. Now, back to my Surface 3 and wonder if I will have wifi when I awaken the beast.

  6. 1 | Reply
    TroyTruax Alpha Member #1821 - 2 months ago

    Microsoft could have added business features to the band. I have an RSA fob and a door badge strapped to me all day long. It would have been great to have that functionality in my band!

     

     

  7. 1 | Reply
    wolters Alpha Member #390 - 2 months ago

    The Band was a great little device...almost sounds a lot like Zune, Windows Media Center, Windows Phone. Fantastic device the masses didn't want. 

    Since I had to move on to Android, I decided to try both the Gear S2 and an Android Wear (LG Urbane.) Android Wear won by a landslide because it was simply more functional and had a lot more compatibility with other apps. Like, for example, I can DELETE, FLAG, REPLY, ARCHIVE AND SCHEDULE from my Android Wear via Outlook. So nice to have. Mind you, many may be turned off by Android Wear's UI/Swiping but once used to it, it is quite good. 

  8. 1 | Reply
    ponsaelius Alpha Member #1328 - 2 months ago

    Getting rid of the band is consistent with Nadella's enterprise first consumer last strategy. He should probably ditch Xbox, Groove and Videos to kill off the consumer space in the way he has with Windowsphone.

    Keeping a legacy consumer business in some hope Microsoft can compete with Apple, Google or Amazon is really the world of Ballmer.

     

    1. 0 | Reply
      SilentHero117 Alpha Member #1132 - 2 months ago
      In reply to ponsaelius:

      My thoughts exactly!  If it wasn't for the surprise turnaround with the Surface Pro 3, the entire Surface line would have gotten the ax as well. 

    2. 0 | Reply
      WP7Mango Alpha Member #2513 - 1 month ago
      In reply to ponsaelius:

      Band is not a Windows 10 device - probably another reason why they killed it, because it's not part of the one Windows vision.

  9. 1 | Reply
    rope_photo Alpha Member #1297 - 2 months ago

    Paul,

    Not sure if you can comment even if you knew anything but it seems Microsoft would be in the clear to release a Band 3 with thier 2017 lineup and it would still fit within what they quoted.  Some sites are reporting that Microsoft disbanded their HARDWARE team, but it was just the team attempting to get W10 on it right?  Band is now under Panos right?  Seems like they could be working on something Band-ish for that 2017 hardward release.  

  10. 0 | Reply
    webguynj Alpha Member #1379 - 1 month ago

    So if there are no more in the stores, and I have a 2 year store replacement policy, what happens?

  11. 0 | Reply
    SeattleMike Alpha Member #105 - 2 months ago

    After my second Band 2 broke and the store was out of stock, I gave up on this product anyway. No love lost here because i was already frustrated and disappointed.

  12. 0 | Reply
    davidblouin Alpha Member #303 - 2 months ago

    How am i going get my phone notification without getting it out of my pocket now ? 

    I got 3 broken band 2 , i can't get rma for unless i pay 200+ bucks for because they are "out of warranty" in some universe...

  13. 0 | Reply
    mortarm - 1 month ago

    >...the Band team has been—wait for it—disbanded.

    That was a wearable thing to say. 😁

  14. 0 | Reply
    Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 2 months ago

    Yyyyyyyup.

  15. 0 | Reply
    Cristobal Alpha Member #1564 - 2 months ago

    I misread the cues:  I was waiting for Band 3 to update my wife's Band 1.  I just broke the news to her, with the Fitbit web page ready to ease the pain.  Too bad, she really liked the Band.

  16. 0 | Reply
    Nonmoi Alpha Member #1426 - 1 month ago

    Again,forfeit battles and give up on wars are not the way to victory, MS proclaim its commitment to increasingly smaller segement of total tech market it once dominate is in fact none other than a firm commitment to total defeat.

  17. 0 | Reply
    chriswong13 Alpha Member #869 - 1 month ago

    Well, do they just mean they won't have a Band-like device this year, or never ever?  If they release one next year, then this isn't really news...

  18. 0 | Reply
    jwpear Alpha Member #2194 - 1 month ago

    This is disappointing news indeed!  Band 2 is absolutely my favorite fitness wearable.  Why can't MS just say they've discontinued all current and future Band hardware production?

    The Fitbit devices are nice, but they come up short in a few areas based on my experience: sleep tracking and heart rate monitoring. 

    Fitbit simply lacks the ability to tell when you were in deep sleep.  Improving that plus total duration, with Band's help, has helped me in ways the sleep doctor has never been able to do without resorting to sleep meds. 

    As for heart rate, Fitbit seems to be almost a joke compared to the Band.  I've worn both Band/Band 2 and Charge HR during multiple workouts along with a Polar HR monitor.  Fitbit is all over the place and often under reports.  Band 2 is more in line with the Polar.  Not perfect, but close enough that I feel I can leave the Polar at home for most activities.  I have not been able to test with the Surge or new Charge 2. 

    If you don't care about either of those things, then Fitbit is probably the path to take.  For me, step counting is about the least interesting feature of these devices, especially since most phones offer that these days.

    Anyone have an Apple Watch and have tested it in a similar manner?  I'm curious how it fares at HR and sleep tracking.

  19. 0 | Reply
    [email protected] Alpha Member #2347 - 1 month ago

    I'm really happy I never spent the money on the Band. I still have my X Box One but am not sure if I will move on with the next version. I have been a loyal Microsoft supporter from my first DOS machine in the 80's. I'm not sure if they have the ability to support consumer products as a true long term business. I think opting for the HP Specter x360 over the Surface Book was another good choice. 

  20. 0 | Reply
    Stoicjim Alpha Member #819 - 1 month ago

    I love the GPS feature in my Band 2. I'm very disappointed in how this turned out.

  21. 0 | Reply
    dorana Alpha Member #365 - 1 month ago

    It is disappointing that Microsoft is not going to continue producing the Microsoft Band, I really liked the functionality of it as it was intuitive and easy-to-use. And it didn't look too bad either. I've been running a small experiment of my own for the last 12 months wearing the Band 2 and the Fitbit HR along side each other. And while the Fitbit has a better battery life and is more reliable, the functionality does not stack up to that of the Band when you're using a Windows phone.

    However as you have stated Paul, products like Fitbit are getting a lot better, unfortunately there Windows applications are not and to get the full functionality of products like Fitbit one will need abandoned Windows phone, which is something I'm trying to come to terms with.

    The sad fact is that Microsoft really has only achieved two successful stories on the consumer side of their products and that is Windows 10 and the SurfacePro 4. And quite frankly, if they don't lift their game they are going to lose out in those areas as well. They really need to sort out the application side of things if they are to continue with their success.

  22. 0 | Reply
    robincapper Alpha Member #2080 - 1 month ago

    Glad I got a 'grey import' Band 2 when I did. Great device but hard to see a future when Microsoft didn't even offer it in many markets. How long before they shut down Cortana, years pass and it is not available in many locations...

  23. 0 | Reply
    asarathy Alpha Member #1139 - 2 months ago

    The Band 2 was a real POS product quality wise. I have had 2 replaced. The third one, unfortunatly my son dropped and cracked the screen, but was still usable.  But the Strap now has ripped on this one too, and of course because the screen is broken, mircosoft can deny fixing the strap.  Oh well.

  24. 0 | Reply
    glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 2 months ago

    "Microsoft’s Band defeat comes at a bad time" Or maybe an excellent time to not directly competing with Apple and failing.

  25. 0 | Reply
    khanman Alpha Member #644 - 2 months ago

    After owning both the Band 1 and 2 (and having multiple issues with both), I finally jumped ship over the weekend. I bought a Fitbit Charge 2 - so far so good.  I must say that I liked the Band 2 and the Band app (on Android).

    1. 2 | Reply
      zybch Alpha Member #2568 - 2 months ago

      Good luck with that.  I've had just as many quality/reliability issues with fitbit's stuff as the bands I went through.

      I now just use apps like Endomondo linked to a pebble which has been rock solid for the 2 years I've had it.

    2. 0 | Reply
      jwpear Alpha Member #2194 - 1 month ago
      In reply to zybch:

      I've had the same reliability issues with my Fitbit Charge.  First split where the band meets the body of the tracker.  Very similar to Band.  Bought a new Fitbit since old was out of warranty.  It had a battery issue--only lasted two days on a charge.  Fitbit replaced it, but only had blue left in stock.  Hate that color.

  26. 0 | Reply
    chrisrut Alpha Member #193 - 2 months ago

    So not in 2016 - which is running down. Does this imply that it will reappear in 2017 as a newer and better product? Plenty of room for speculation, eh?

    Personally, I haven't worn a wrist watch of any description in many years... so if it's going to go on my wrist it needs to be slim, trim, reliable, and usable for second factor authentication... 

    Y'all need to read "First Lensman" by e.e. Doc Smith... from the 1930s...

  27. 0 | Reply
    davidD Alpha Member #2138 - 2 months ago

    I noticed in the podcasts last week that Paul was wearing an Alta. I've been thinking of getting an Alta to replace my Flex (obtained after free promotion between Fitibt & MS when I bought my Lumia 735). This just makes it even more likely I'll be getting an Alta before the year is out.

    A question to Paul and other Fitbit users: What's the quality of the Alta like? I'm currently on my 3rd Flex since March 2015. First broke after 3 months where the tracker goes. Admittedly a common issue on the flex based on the forum posts. Second broke a year after getting it, weirdly at hte holes where the clasp hooks in. (From experience, the MS Band isn't the only wearable with quality issues!)

    1. 0 | Reply
      PhilipVasta Alpha Member #1662 - 2 months ago
      In reply to davidD:

      I can't comment on the Alta, but I got a Charge 2, coming from an original Band. Obviously I haven't had it very long, but it seems to be very durable. Plus, if the band piece breaks, you can replace it with first or third-party ones. The only thing it doesn't have is built-in GPS, but it can piggy back off of your phone. I'm really happy with it so far.

  28. 0 | Reply
    dougkinzinger Alpha Member #1212 - 2 months ago

    Sad as it is, it's probably best - MS can focus on what its better at, versus making a wearable that no one wore (as much as I liked the Band 1...which was OK at best).

  29. 0 | Reply
    skborders Alpha Member #1309 - 2 months ago

    I have the fitbit Blaze and love it. It is fashionable, gives me all the excercise info I want as well as Caller ID and text messages. The only thing it does not have is GPS and it will use your phone for that. Plus it has a week long battery life.

    1. 1 | Reply
      rope_photo Alpha Member #1297 - 2 months ago

      I got the blaze and returned it.  I loved that it was light, fashionable and had great battery life.  The GPS via the phone (Nexus 6P) was horribly innacurate though.  Can't live with that.  Would be perfect if it had gps for real. 

    2. 0 | Reply
      wbhite Alpha Member #120 - 2 months ago

      Plus, with the recent firmware update, you can choose from all of your apps which notifications you get on your wrist.  I use Nine for email, so now it's great that I can glance at emails I get from work (in addition to the standard call and text notifications).

    3. 0 | Reply
      khanman Alpha Member #644 - 2 months ago

      I considered the Blaze, but opted for the less conspicuous Charge 2.  My wife opted for the Blaze over the Charge 2.  Go figure!

  30. 0 | Reply
    murchman Alpha Member #2352 - 2 months ago

    I have both a band 1 and band 2. The band 1 lasted about 6 months before it was replaced under warranty and again replaced at 11 months under warranty when it fell apart at the bateries. The Band 2 last 3 month before it needs replacing under warranty due to either the strap breaking open or it refusing to stay on after a charge and reporting the battery at 0% even after just showing 100%.

    I am now on my 4th replacement Band 2 and think Microsoft is doing a good thing by killing it as they just could not make one that last. When i go into the store they don't even question if my Band has failed again they just start proccessing the warranty and getting another out of the box. The employees know it's not reliable and feel bad for having to replace it yet again.

  31. 0 | Reply
    toshdellapenna Alpha Member #562 - 2 months ago

    my band 2 tore in half today, it's my 3rd one in less than a year. Hopefully they still have 1 available at my "local" store.

  32. 0 | Reply
    JHeredia Alpha Member #433 - 2 months ago

    I'm definitely disappointed about this change, even if it's not the popular sentiment.  The Band had everything I wanted, and when it wasn't tearing it's band or having battery issues, it was perfect.  To get a similarly capable replacement (I need GPS tracking for my hiking) I either need to get a Fitbit Surge or a Garmin vívoactive HR, both of which are $75 more than the Band's regular price and whose apps have horrible reviews filled with more issues than the Microsft Band app.  So basically, there's nothing to replace it with.  Thus, color me disappointed.

     

    Oh, and Paul, I know how much you love a good misleading headline...was a little surprised to this one stop short of the truth..."in 2016".  Because that's really all we have confirmed...

  33. 0 | Reply
    TheGreatWalther Alpha Member #2035 - 2 months ago

    Used to have a basic FitBit. Then came the Band 1, which I found interesting, so I bought it. Strap broke during football match with the kids. Happened around the same time, where the Apple Watch series 0 was released. Got one, which didn't break, but there was room for improvement hardware and software-wise. Switched to a Microsoft Band 2, which I liked a lot, but it broke (could no longer charge) very quickly. Really poor hardware quality :(

    Upgraded my Apple Watch to WatchOS3 and liked the new OS design, but still wanted better battery time and built-in GPS. So just got a Apple Watch 2, which for me last 2 days on a charge and I use it for much more than workouts. Very satisfied so far. Like the look and feel of real watch especially so use a leather cuff band for non-working out usage and a sports band for workout.

  34. -2 | Reply
    dcdevito Alpha Member #220 - 2 months ago

    I agree with this move, Microsoft has no business being in the consumer-only space. 

    1. 0 | Reply
      PhilipVasta Alpha Member #1662 - 2 months ago
      In reply to dcdevito:

      I'm torn on this. On one hand, they're clearly terrible at it, have a damaged reputation (however outdated) from Zune, BSODs, etc, and are competing with the likes of Google and Apple, who are super consumer-focused. On the other hand... Microsoft has so many of the pieces to make a strong play in the consumer space.