- Nike has published the code powering a series of software projects, including code for its own website, on open source resource site GitHub.
- The athletic apparel and products giant, which also has several mobile apps, may be looking to boost its technology image to lure new tech talent, TechCrunch speculated.
- Nike joins Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Adidas and other retail brands with GitHub accounts.
Many retailers are aspiring in a variety of ways to make technology just as big a part of their identities as merchandising. Under Armour, for example, has come right out and said as much, while other retailers are showing it in how much they talk about technology or how much they spend on it. (Maybe being close geographically to Microsoft in the Pacific Northwest makes Nike think of it as a short trip.)
Nike now supports 10 iPhone apps and two iPad apps available for download from Apple's App Store, as well as a website dedicated to developer APIs for the Nike Fuel fitness tracking platform. Retailers embracing technology on all levels are chasing the notion that to succeed at e-commerce, you have to be first and foremost a technology company. That may not be entirely true, although Amazon's massive success certainly doesn't disprove the notion.
But retailers always need to be retailers first and foremost, don't they? They have to be astute about where it makes sense to invest in technological advances, and where it makes sense to mix some sleek innovations with what already works for their organizations.
Having a few of their own apps, as many retailers do, doesn't necessarily make them technology companies, however, and neither does making a publicized visit to an open source site. If retailers are smart about it, they will figure out which innovations and what kind of talent to import from the high-tech sector, but they should also know there's a limit to how much they can lift from the playbooks of Amazon, Facebook and Google.