Microsoft halts Band fitness tracker sales, won't release a new one this year

Microsoft Band 2

Pour one out for the Microsoft Band fitness tracker as every trace of the wearable is now scrubbed from the tech giant's online store. What's more, the Windows 10 maker says it has no plans to release a new one this year, either.

Here's what we know: An anonymous tipster sent ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley a cached Microsoft Store page from October 2 that showed the Band alive and well. Today, however, all references to the Band are gone - you literally can't buy it. To thicken the plot, Microsoft is still selling fitness trackers from competitors like Fitbit and Misfit.

Though multiple sources speaking to Foley claim Microsoft is phasing out the tracker for good, company officials aren't admitting the Band is quite dead yet.

"We have sold through our existing Band 2 inventory and have no plans to release another Band device this year," reads a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson. "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."

Healthy software

This isn't the first time we've heard Microsoft may be discontinuing the Band, though it's by far the most damning evidence.

About two weeks ago, Foley first reported Microsoft likely wouldn't release a new Band 3 wearable this year. Microsoft also allegedly disbanded the team of engineers behind the tracker, and put them on other hardware projects.

The final nail in the coffin might be Microsoft's removal of the Band software development kit (SKD), which third-party developers could use to create apps for the fitness tracker. The developer website simply says, "The Microsoft Band SDK is no longer available" without explanation. Not a good sign.

While Microsoft may stop making fitness trackers, it seems keen to develop health software. Microsoft recently rebranded its "Health" apps to "Microsoft Band," which may pave the way for new health-based apps that will work with third-party fitness trackers like Fitbit, and perhaps even the Apple Watch.

Microsoft isn't the only technology company turning its attention to health software. Apple is rumored to be using its HealthKit and CareKit software to interpret data and offer advice. The new tech arms race, it seems, will be who collects the most user health data and offers meaningful diagnostics first.

Lewis Leong
Lewis Leong is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He has an unhealthy obsession with headphones and can identify cars simply by listening to their exhaust notes.