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Fire Sale – What Happened To Cisco’s Flip Camera?

Dang, it! This was imagined to be a story approximately a product fulfillment, not a product failure. Pure Digital created the low-end quite portable video digital camera marketplace a few years again, after which got bought out for a half 1000000000 U.S. Greenbacks with the aid of the networking massive Cisco. Cisco is stuffed with clever, vibrant product managers, and they should have been capable of increase this successful product into outer space. But they did not, and now the Flip video camera goes away; what befell?

flip Camera

Why I Loved The Flip Video Camera

So I’m willing to ‘fess up – I own a Flip video camera. In truth, I so fell in love with this product that I sold one early on whilst it changed into nonetheless owned through Pure Digital. However, after a while of touring around in my pocket all the time, the display failed. I ended up getting a Kodak Zi8 to replace it in part because the Zi8 had a function that the Flip in no way did – it had a jack that allowed it to be used with an external microphone.

I stored my eye on the Flip over the years because its small size still seduced me. I by no means once more sold one sincerely because it genuinely seemed to trade – the Flip that is being provided these days positively looks similar to the Flip that I sold numerous years in the past. Sure, they have come out with an HD model and some pretty “skins” that permit you to personalize it, but that appears to be approximately it.

What Went Wrong Between Cisco And The Flip

Cisco is a smart business enterprise. They hire clever product managers. Something went incorrect here. Brian Chen and Chunka Mui have taken a near study of what took place right here, and it’s now not pretty. It appears as even though the purpose that the Flip product line failed to do nicely below control by way of Cisco is due to two preventable sets of conditions: the Flip changed into a horrific purchase selection for Cisco, and then Cisco did a bad activity of dealing with the product after they had it. The product line could have been capable of living to tell the tale of such mistakes. However, it couldn’t conquer each of them.

The Wrong Decision

Cisco should no longer have purchased the Flip product line. Sure, at the time, it seemed like a perfect concept. Cisco’s John Chambers announced that Cisco became buying Pure Digital to sell merchandise that would create content material that would drive the want for larger networks – Cisco’s core commercial enterprise.

flip video camera

However, what became overlooked in all of the glowing press releases became that Cisco sold Pure Digital no longer because they were in an incredible “adjoining marketplace,” but as an alternative, because Cisco’s core commercial enterprise become slowing. Because of this mistake, Cisco located itself in a marketplace that it really did not recognize something approximately – client electronics. The forces that drive this marketplace are unlike those that drive Cisco’s primary company networking market.

Additionally, Cisco’s concept that their logo name conveys first-class and innovation within the enterprise marketplace would promote more Flip video cameras. It did not. I, for one, don’t partner Cisco with domestic products and could, as an alternative, buy something from Sony or Apple earlier than I’d buy something from Cisco. Finally, any mind that Cisco had approximately using the Flip product line to sell its other merchandise become a pipe dream. People who’re buying a US$100 video camera are not going to be equal to those who buy a US$25,000 high-stop router.

Bad Product Decisions

Did I point out that the Flip product line seemed to be caught in a time-warp? In the short-shifting field of customer electronics, this is the worst element that can take place. The Flip quite a good deal was given mowed over with the aid of smartphones’ appearance: each Apple and Android merchandise keep getting higher and higher each couple of months at doing what the Flip does.

The Cisco product managers could have saved the Flip. Just like the oldsters over at MySpace, they could have specialized in keeping the delivered from going down. One manner of doing that would have been to work very toughly to incorporate social networking functions into the Flip. Just believe if you can shoot a video of your canine barking a Christmas track and then hit a button and have it mechanically uploaded to both YouTube and your Facebook account. But that in no way happened.

Finally, the product never moved on. There turned into by no means a compelling high-quit Flip product that I noticed in magazines that precipitated me to pause and look longingly at (e.G. The iPad 2) considering what I could do with it. The Cisco product managers might have needed to be cautious here. However, such things as an excellent zoom lens, Wi-Fi connectivity, and maybe even apps keep only for the Flip could have completed the trick. We’ll in no way recognize…

What All Of This Means For You

When a business enterprise desires to grow its backside line, purchasing some other enterprise to get a successful product certainly looks like an easy manner to make this happen. However, Cisco’s extremely-a success has just proved that this can genuinely be a volatile way to do matters. Their purchase of the Flip video camera product line became flawed in numerous ways. Although the product turned warm once they bought it, the future was already getting cloudy as smartphones stored getting smarter and less expensive. The loss of any compelling high-end capabilities or social networking tie-ins decreased patron hobby in wearing this more electronic device. Finally, Cisco just failed to recognize that a lot approximately the consumer marketplace that they were stepping into.


In the end, all of it comes down to doing the primary product supervisor homework that we’ve got all been taught to do. You need to check the marketplace and recognize what want they may be trying to fill. Then you need to check your product and make a few hard decisions about how you’re going that allow you to fill that want higher than everyone else. It price Cisco over US$500M to analyze this lesson, allow’s wish that the relaxation folks can research from their mistake.

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