Cisco kills Flip video camera as part of consumer business remake

Video may have killed the radio star, but Cisco CEO John Chambers is the one who'll be remembered for killing the Flip video camera, as his promised strategic realignment of the laboring networking giant's business steps off. It is the first of what could be many casualties--along with some 550 jobs--that will results from the company's effort to right its foundering ship.

The company today said "it will exit aspects of its consumer businesses," which in addition to killing Flip, which it acquired when Cisco bought Pure Digital for $590 million two years ago, will include:

  • Refocusing its Home Networking business for greater profitability and connection to the company's core networking infrastructure; those products available through retail channels;
  • Integrate Cisco umi into the company's Business TelePresence product line and operate through an enterprise and service provider go-to-market model, consistent with existing business TelePresence efforts; and,
  • Assess core video technology integration of Cisco's Eos media solutions business or other market opportunities for this business.

Chambers said the moves were made "as we align operations in support of our network-centric platform strategy.

"As we move forward," he said, "our consumer efforts will focus on how we help our enterprise and service provider customers optimize and expand their offerings for consumers, and help ensure the network's ability to deliver on those offerings."

Cisco acquired the Flip, which has seen modest consumer uptake, with significant fanfare. It launched YouTube channels and a multi-million ad campaign to try to take it mainstream. It also attempted to make it a tool for small businesses looking to get video online quickly. The camera was simple and easy to use, and made sharing with friends and uploading to site like YouTube simple.

While it saw early success, consumers were rapidly turning to smartphones and using digital cameras to capture video, it seemed like an odd move, although the camera itself was straightforward and simple to use, making it easy to share video and upload to sites like YouTube.

But, as the quality of video shot by smartphones continued to improve, and sharing was made easier through a variety of free apps, the Flip lost even more ground.

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