– By Steve Robins
R.I.P. The Flip
Earlier today, Cisco shut down the Flip Video division. How a product could go from must-have to shut-down in 4 years is incredible. Surely, it has something to do with the fact that Cisco is not a consumer products company – that’s just not in their DNA: they don’t have the expertise, understanding or willingness to run a division as a consumer products division.
Perhaps more amazing is that they shut it down, seemingly without trying to sell it – which speaks volumes about Cisco’s desperation to get out and/or their belief that it had no future (and thus could not be sold).
It’s about content consumption. But the other point is that we live in the era of content consumption devices – devices which like the Apple iPad, can manage lots of different content types – text, video, images etc – and do it seamlessly. Flip was the opposite – a dedicated device for one content type. per The NY Times:
With its versatility in recording video and still images, as well as its ability to perform myriad other functions, the smartphone has since proved to be a far more desirable product than a single-function device like the Flip.
And it’s not just smartphones but powerful tablets like the Apple iPad too. Recently, I presented at ProductCamp Boston and BarCamp Boston about the Apple iPad and its ability to manage the content consumption problem better than most other devices. (Click for slides: Solution Marketing Lessons from the Apple iPad). The problem is real and it’s here to stay, as Flip’s demise proves in part.
When companies look beyond cool consumer products and think about cool consumer problems like content consumption, and how they can solve those problems in new and novel ways, they can win in the market – like Apple.