Apple and Microsoft Take Different Tactics with Fitbit - The UpStream

Apple and Microsoft Take Different Tactics with Fitbit

posted Saturday Nov 8, 2014 by Scott Ertz

Apple and Microsoft Take Different Tactics with Fitbit

There are two big device-independent health platforms vying for attention from manufacturers: Apple's HealthKit and Microsoft Health. While both platforms offer a similar service in theory, both companies have taken very different approaches to, well, everything.

For example, HealthKit is an iOS platform, intended to tie together devices paired with your iPhone and iPad. Microsoft Health, on the other hand, is a platform independent system, based instead in Azure, intended to analyze data from any health device attached to anything that manufacturer wants to support. It also has apps on the 3 major platforms for users to be able to interact with their data.

While their overall approaches to the platform are very different, the place where Apple and Microsoft differ the greatest is, as always, their interaction with the outside world. Apple is known for being very heavy handed in their dealings with other companies, using mob-style threats and intimidation to force others to do what they want. When Bose made their sponsorship deal with the NFL, preventing players from wearing non-Bose headphones in public, Apple removed Bose products from their stores. Apple is also being blamed for the bankruptcy of a former partner because of a "bait and switch" contract.

This same strategy is being used to right now to try and get Fitbit, one of the biggest names in fitness hardware, to use its HealthKit platform. Fitbit has been pretty clear about its current intentions: they have none for HealthKit. As one would expect, Apple's response to this news was swift and sever: Fitbit products have been removed from Apple's store, all because they are not currently planning on implementing Apple's platform.

On the other hand, Microsoft is taking a very different approach to working with Fitbit. The company is also not publicly working on implementing Microsoft Health support (they have not spoken out negatively, however), and Microsoft's new Band health watch device is a bit of a Fitbit competitor. Despite all of this, Microsoft is giving a free Fitbit device with sales of Microsoft Lumia 830 phones on AT&T.

These are two very different approaches: Apple is trying to decrease Fitbit's sales in hopes of forcing them to implement Apple HealthKit, while Microsoft is trying to increase Fitbit's sales in hopes of encouraging them to implement Microsoft Health support through good will. Will either, neither or both of these tactics work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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