Jawbone lays off 15% of its global workforce
Stiff competition in the wearables space hurting maker of fitness trackers
Jawbone, a manufacturer of fitness trackers, portable speakers and headsets, has laid off around 15% of its global workforce, ahead of completely closing its New York office.
The firm confirmed to TechCrunch that this amounted to around 60 of its staff being laid off as part of a "streamlining" operation. The New York office, for example, concentrates mostly on marketing, so its operations will be brought into the head office.
This is the second round of lay-offs that the firm has made this year, the first being in June, when it laid off 20 employees after securing $300m in financing.
While Jawbone has been in business for over 15 years, it has gained worldwide attention for its Up series of fitness trackers. While the company said that its existing line of speakers and headsets won't be affected by the latest round of lay-offs, it is generally thought that Jawbone will be focusing its R&D and marketing efforts on the Up smartbands.
While the company has not broken out sales numbers for its Up wearables, the Up 3 has received positive reviews from critics, and Jawbone is gearing up for strong numbers ahead of the holiday season. That said, Jawbone faces stiff competition from the likes of Fitbit, which has buffed out its range of wearables over the past couple of years, and is engaging in a heavy marketing push ahead of the holidays. And in emerging markets, Xiaomi is making waves with its own fitness trackers.
The Apple Watch is also seen as a threat to Jawbone because, while it is more expensive than the Up line of wearables - and goes beyond being a simple fitness tracker - it's expected to feature prominently on millions of gift lists this year.