Cisco Systems President and CEO John Chambers apparently was speaking ahead of himself last week when he told journalists and analysts at a press briefing in Anaheim that Linksys—well-known for making Wi-Fi hardware for home offices and small businesses—would eventually be folded into the overall Cisco brand.
Chambers clear implication was that the familiar and trusted Linksys brand would simply fade away over the new several months as product stock sold down.
Chambers was quoted in a video produced by UberPulse.com and reproduced on YouTube, saying: "I would have never entered the consumer market if I had thought it [Linksys] was a stand-alone or a network in itself. We believe the devices you use at home will go into the business market as well.
"It goes back to: Any device at any time, off any combination of networks, is our strategy ... It will all come, over time, into a Cisco brand. The reason we kept the Linksys brand was because it was better known in the U.S. than even Cisco was for the consumer. As you go globally, there is very little advantage in that."
However, Irvine, Calif.-based Linksys, a division of San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco and a unit that ultimately must take its orders from Chambers and the Cisco board of directors, didnt sound like it wanted to part with the name anytime soon when queried by eWEEK.
Media relations officer Karen Sohl on July 30 released the following statement from Linksys and Charles Giancarlo, president of Cisco/Linksys:
"Linksys consumer and SMB products will continue to be marketed under the Linksys brand and co-exist in the market with Cisco-branded connected home products over the near term. We will continue to examine our branding strategy going forward (as we have to date) and make changes if and when these changes add value to our customers decision-making processes and our channel partners."
"If you watch the video, John never says that the Linksys brand is going away or that were killing it," Sohl told eWEEK. "What John was saying is that Cisco is moving to a single Cisco branding strategy. Thats a plan that has always been in place, ever since Cisco acquired Linksys.
"Ciscos brand is extremely strong, as we know. The Linksys division is here in Irvine, were going to continue to exist as the Linksys division, and we will continue to sell home networking products with the Linksys brand on them."
Cisco and Linksys products are going to continue to co-exist over time, Sohl said.
"And if we find that over time, that its smart to move to a different brand, we will do that," Sohl said. "Were not going to have any yes or no answers right now, because at this time, Linksys has existed very well selling into the consumer market and low end of the small business market. Were a company with over $1 billion in revenue and were going to continue our margins and marketing and the infrastructure we have in place to sell these solutions."