Microsoft Band Expands To Amazon And Target, Spreads To U.K.


Parmy Olson, Forbes Staff

March 18, 2015

Microsoft just re-emphasized its commitment to wearable devices after only jumping into the market last year with its heart-beat tracking Microsoft Band. The Band, which initially went on sale in Microsoft’s online and physical stores, started selling on Amazon, Best Buy and Target today, the company said in a blog post.

It will also start taking pre-orders on its online store for customers in the U.K.

The Microsoft Band costs $200 Stateside and will retail for £170 in Britain, where consumers will be able to find it in their local branches of the O2 store, Curry’s PC World and Harrods, the upmarket shopping haunt for tourists and wealthy locals in Knightsbridge, London.

Microsoft has taken a conservative approach to the launch of the Microsoft Band, giving it a limited release to start which meant stock was often sold out on the website. Now it says its new retail partners in the U.S. have “increased shipments planned for the weeks and months ahead.”

The Microsoft Band, which Forbes was the first to report on last year, has been in the works at Microsoft for several years and was in some ways a risky bet for the company.

Microsoft has a spotty history in hardware. While the Xbox has been an ongoing success story, the Zune music player was an embarrassing flop and the Surface has had its share of troubles, including a $900 million write-down for the Surface RT.

The Band was also Microsoft’s first new hardware play under CEO Satya Nadella.

Nadella was wearing the Band when he gave the opening keynote at Microsoft’s Convergence 2015 enterprise services event on Sunday. During his speech he avoided talking about the aesthetics of the band, (which don’t really hold up against the Apple Watch; several reviewers on Amazon agree), and highlighted how the wearable’s real strength was in its data insights.

The Band was “actually a sensor framework on my wrist,” he said in a transcript posted by VentureBeat. “Devices will come and go. The most interesting thing is the data being collected.”

Sources close to the making of the Band have also emphasized that the data collected by the band and then analyzed on its Microsoft Health platform will be the product’s crown jewel, particularly as the company pushes out new software updates to the device and to its Health app.

This article was written by Parmy Olson from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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