Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RIP, Cisco Flip

"We’re making key, targeted moves as we align operations in support of our network-centric platform strategy," said Cisco CEO John Chambers, in a recent statement about the demise of the Company’s popular video camcorder, the Flip.

Although the Flip was an odd fit to Cisco’s “network-centric” products, e.g. routers and switches, in the first place, the Flip shouldn’t be blamed for its own death sentence. It was Cisco’s top honcho’s rather weak judgement on corporate brand positioning (Where are we now? What do we do next?) and discontinued efforts to innovate the Flip that would have contributed to the situation.

The Flip was a victim of circumstance.

"Cisco was swayed by the sexiness of selling to the consumer," said Mo Koyfman, a principal at Spark Capital, a Boston venture capital firm. "They're not wired to do it themselves, so they do it by acquisition. Flip was one of the most visible targets out there. But it's really hard to turn an elephant into a horse. Cisco's an elephant." – The New York Times

The Flip could have also competed head-to-head with camera smartphones and even with iPad 2 if only Cisco took some time to innovate the Flip -- a Wi-Fi ready video camcorder that’s capable of uploading photos and videos to various social media in real time, for instance.

For Cisco, the $590 Million acquisition of the video camcorder brand from Pure Digital Technologies, only two years ago, was a lapse in judgement.

Although “the company is far from loss-making: in its last financial year, to the end of August 2010, it saw revenues rise 11 percent to $40 Billion and profits up 26 percent to $7.8 Billion” – The Guardian, Cisco still bid the Flip goodbye.