Why did Cisco kill the Flip camera?

David Pogue’s love affair with the pocket video cam is over, and he’s understandably bitter:

…it isn’t true at all that nobody’s buying Flip camcorders. So far, 7 million people have bought them. Only a month ago, I was briefed by a Flip product manager on the newest model, which was to hit the market yesterday. He showed me a graph of the Flip’s sales; Flips now represent an astonishing 35 percent of the camcorder market. They’re the No. 1 bestselling camcorder on Amazon. They’re still selling fast.

[…]

I’ve spoken to a bunch of people in the industry, trying, in my human way, to figure out the logic here. It seems clear that Cisco, whose primary focus is making networking equipment for businesses, was all excited about getting into the consumer electronics game; that’s why it spent $590 million on Flip. But then, as John Chambers, Cisco’s chief executive, put it, the company decided to make “key, targeted moves as we align operations in support of our network-centric platform strategy.”

Which, in English, means, “We had no clue what we were doing.”

[…]

The most plausible reason is that Cisco wants the technology in the Flip more than it wants the business. Cisco is, after all, in the videoconferencing business, and the Flip’s video quality—for its size and price—was amazing.

Shame we never saw the new FlipLive that Pogue gushes over in the piece — but to be fair, it just sound like a simpler version of Qik, which I was running perfectly on my Nokia N95 over three years ago.

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