Millions of consumers needn't flip-out in a panic over Cisco's decision to shutter (no pun intended) its line of very popular digital camcorders, the Flip.
Yes, it's true that several million Flips were sold during its heyday, and that the Flip was so popular, in fact, that Cisco acquired Pure Digital, the company who made the Flip and the popular Linksys routers, for $590 million in 2009.
But, like other consumer electronic products that have come and gone over the decades (even to the surprise of many, especially given that Flip is still the number one camcorder sold on Amazon.com), manufacturer warranties will still be honored, and in the case of the Flip, Cisco has said the FlipShare service up in that great cloud in the sky will still be supported as long as there is still a need (whatever that means).
But, since Cisco did exert great energy and expense at acquiring this consumer footprint, it would be surprising if they simply cut FlipShare off to what would surely be the consternation of many. But, just in case, some at Cisco customer support are advocating that FlipShare users back-up their videos to an external drive before uploading to the cloud.
Many in the tech media over the last couple of years have marveled and questioned Cisco's nascent attempt to purchase a foothold into the consumer market with the acquisition of Pure Digital, along with the quite expensive print and tv campaign featuring a misused and miscast Ellen Page (Juno. Analysts have also harped on this branching out away from Cisco's core business, especially when Cisco's share prices continued to plunge. Additional competition and disruption in the form of Smartphones with increasingly robust video camera and edit functions also brought competitive pressures on Cisco's Flip.
The day of Cisco's announcement to shut-down the Flip division was to be the day the Flip camcorder was to release the much-anticipated "livestreaming" functionality of the Flip, with instant uploading to the cloud of user content. Such innovation will certainly find its way onto the iPhone or some Android phone device, but certainly more competition (and choices) are better for the consumer.
By J. Gregg