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Cisco killed the Flip camera and other surprises

The news last week that Cisco killed the Flip mini-camcorder — or, as Cisco put it, restructured its consumer products division — is full of surprises.

First, I have to admit, even as a Cisco Flip camera owner, I had no idea that Cisco owned the product, but it has since 2009. Guess I missed that one.

Second, everyone seems to understand that the death of the Cisco Flip camera is because of Apple Inc.’s iPhone and other HD video-ready smartphones. But, as New York Times technology columnist David Pogue points out, the actual number of multitasking smartphones out there is still relatively small compared to the number of phones that only offer voice services. So discontinuing the product (and, in the process, laying off more than 500 people) seems pretty premature.

Third, if Cisco really wanted to get some return on its investment, why not try to find a buyer for the Flip camera? Or give management an opportunity for a buyout? Crazy.

But given Cisco’s history in the consumer (small-business?) products space, it’s buyer beware the next time Cisco starts to take its eye off the enterprise

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Your comments are right on the money. I missed the whole owned by Cisco thing too. I think that trying to compare the Flip with a smart phone is not a good comparison, as the capabilities and quality are different. Think that your suggestion for a spin off was a much better idea than killing it. They had better focus on the enterprise, because if I ever associate them with another consumer product, I will run the other way.
I certainly agree with your post -- and the Cisco side caught me by surprise as well. Rather than just 'kill' the product, why not find a buyer, as you mention? Is there another issue behind the death of the Flip? Flip seems more robust in terms of video recording than smartphones/cells ... Why the real reason for the 'kill'? Infringement somewhere, anywhere? In this economy, some money as spin-off/sell-off, is much better than no money ..