Recent events clearly show that Cisco has been unable to appropriately feed & nurture consumer-facing businesses – from Linksys (now Cisco’s Home Networking group) to Flip and most recently internally launched Umi. Given this background, Cisco’s decision to exit Flip isn’t entirely surprising – Cisco wasn’t able to manage it successfully and the divergent needs of the consumer business proved a distraction for management.
However, it is likely that Cisco could have found another buyer for Flip – companies as diverse as Kodak, HTC, or SanDisk would have interest in using this as a launching pad to a new way to engage with customers. Jonathan Kaplan’s recent interview with All Things Digital indicates that pulling the team back together isn’t off the cards (it has a subtle “team for hire” undertone) – although it appears as if the buyer will need to negotiate twice – once for the team and the second time for the Flip assets (brand name and designs). Closing Flip sends a clearer message to investors than finding a buyer – and simply shifts the burden from Cisco management to the Flip team themselves.