Enterprise Mobility: Cisco Flip Camera Demise Linked to iPhone, Android Smartphone Popularity
Cisco April 12 bid adieu to its Flip camera business, shuttering the unit roughly two years after paying $590 million for Flip maker Pure Digital in March 2009. At that time, Cisco appeared to be acquiring a red-hot consumer electronics company that had sold more than 2 million Spartan video cameras with switchblade USB jacks for easy connections to port video to Windows and Mac computers. Flip cameras started small in 2006 and got smaller in 2008, with the introduction of the Flip MinoHD, which shot video at a 720p resolution. "The acquisition of Pure Digital is key to Cisco's strategy to expand our momentum in the media-enabled home and to capture the consumer market transition to visual networking," Cisco said at the time of the deal. Indeed, Flip video cameras commanded almost 22 percent of U.S. camcorder market share through February, and brought Cisco $317 million in sales. Yet Cisco CEO John Chambers said the company intends its remaining consumer offerings to support its larger commercial offerings of core routing, switching, services, collaboration, architectures and video transmission. But why didn't Flip prove to be a long-term success for Cisco? Blame it on Apple's iPhone and a slew of high-end Android smartphones that have come to the table with the ability to capture and play video in 1080p quality. In this slide show, eWEEK runs through some of the gadgets responsible for Cisco's giving up on the Flip camcorders.
Under Cisco, Flip would launch the UltraHD and MinoHD video cameras in September 2010. The devices were priced between $149 and $229, or roughly the cost of a new smartphone. And therein rests the problem. Sure, millions of users would shoot video, upload it to their computers, edit it, and share it via Facebook, YouTube or email from the Flip, but in recent years, so did multiple smartphones. Pure Digital Co-founder Jonathan Kaplan left Cisco this past February.