Disclaimer: I do own Cisco stock.
So Cisco has decided to axe some of their more prominent consumer products, namely the Flip camcorder, and possibly that home video-conferencing device, the Umi. As a shareholder, I think its good that they’re thinking critically about pursuing other options that will make the company money rather than slightly foolish purchases that don’t coincide with a plan.
What does Cisco do these days? I know they make high-end corporate networking equipment: Border Gateway Routers, high-speed interlinks, etc. There’s a good portion of the Internet and its packets running through Cisco hardware right now. On the consumer front they bought Linksys which was ok– I wrote them off a long time ago and typically recommend NetGear products to my clients.
But the Flip, now that was cool. A handheld video recorder supporting H.264, loads of battery life, and a flip out USB port eliminating the need for you to pack one in your bag (as if you don’t have 4 in there already, right this second). Cisco claims the reason why they left this market is that they were under direct competition from the iPhone (and child devices) that already had video cameras embedded in them. That might be true; I don’t know, I still haven’t done much video recording on my iPhone.
On the home video conferencing front those humorous commercials for the Umi starring Ellen Page were interesting. But didn’t we try home video conferencing in the past? Is that really the device that we want to send to grandma? Doesn’t she already have Skype, with better quality?
Is this the communication of the future? I’m not sure I need to video conference with everyone. FaceTime is a novelty, and when I fire up Skype short of the novelty of “seeing” someone I haven’t seen in a while, I’m probably leveraging their (superiorly awesome) audio codecs rather than wasting the bandwidth with video.
But, I digress. Good for you Cisco. You’ve proven that you’re trying to take steps to change your image. As a shareholder that’s nifty, but as a consumer: I’m still not sure what you do.