Jawbone lays off 60 employees and closes its New York office.

Fitness Tracker–Maker Jawbone Just Laid Off 15 Percent of Its Staff

Fitness Tracker–Maker Jawbone Just Laid Off 15 Percent of Its Staff

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 20 2015 3:01 PM

Fitness Tracker–Maker Jawbone Just Laid Off 15 Percent of Its Staff

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These Fitbit wearable armbands are dominating the fitness tracker market, leaving Jawbone on the low end of the industry’s profits.

Photo by Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

The struggling fitness tracker manufacturer Jawbone just suffered another jab. On Thursday, the 16-year-old wearable company laid off 60 employees—15 percent of its workforce—according to TechCrunch. The company is also shuttering its marketing-focused New York office and downsizing operations in Sunnyvale, California, and Pittsburgh. But it will continue to make its Up wrist trackers, Jambox speakers, and Bluetooth headsets.

In a statement, a Jawbone spokesperson attributed the bloodletting to a “streamlining” strategy:

Jawbone’s success over the past 15 years has been rooted in its ability to evolve and grow dynamically in a rapidly scaling marketplace. As part of our strategy to create a more streamlined and successful company, we have made the difficult decision to reorganize the company which has had an impact on our global workforce. We are sad to see colleagues go, but we know that these changes, while difficult for those impacted, will set us up for greater success.
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These are the second round of layoffs for Jawbone this year. In June, Jawbone laid off 20 employees—4 percent of its workforce—right after receiving a $300 million loan from the private equity firm BlackRock and getting involved in a messy patent infringement suit with Fitbit. Jawbone accused its rival in wearable tech of “systematically plundering” company secrets by poaching Jawbone employees, as Slate’s Alison Griswold reported at the time.

Jawbone has also struggled to deliver on its products. The new Up3 fitness tracker, released in May, received less-than-stellar reviews. And although it was designed for swimmers, the tracker wasn’t that water-resistant. This made it nearly impossible for the company to compete in the highly competitive wearable market.

As BuzzFeed notes, Jawbone wasn’t even in the top five wearable vendors, which included Fitbit, Apple, Xiamoi, Garmin, and Samsung. As those companies celebrate the 200 percent growth in wearable tech, industry pioneer Jawbone can’t seem to keep up.