You may have seen the news this morning that Cisco is planning to discontinue the Flip camera product. It’s sort of a bummer since Flip Cams have been a neat little device that have almost become synonymous with easy, cheap video recording.
At the same time, with almost every new smartphone currently on the market having video recording capability, one could see the writing on the wall for Flip cams in their current incarnation. However, it’s hard to believe that with their strong brand and following, that the company could not come up with a new product that could remain compelling in spite of the proliferation of smartphones. Smartphone video recording exists widely in some form, but few phones have actually decent quality. At least right now there is very much room in the market for something like a Flip cam to fill – the cheap, yet better-than-smartphone-quality handheld video camera.
In an interview with GigaOM, Jonathan Kaplan, the founder of Pure Digital (makers of Flip), agrees that the Flip could still have a place in the market with smartphones:
“Cellphones will take high quality photos and videos but they are a different use case and billions of dollars can be generated in revenues from single purpose devices,” he added. They are both different use-case scenarios.
He also commented on why he thought Cisco did what they did:
“What was good for Flip and the Flip team is not the same for Cisco’s shareholders,” he observed, declining to speculate on why Cisco changed its attitudes towards the consumer. When asked to explain why Cisco killed the Flip, he pointed out that it was part of Cisco’s overall strategy but he couldn’t comment on why Cisco had done it, since he no longer worked for the company. Kaplan said that the Flip brand is still very strong, and he has received thousands of emails from Flip owners wondering about Flip’s future.
Unfortunately, what’s done is done. Cisco just didn’t have room in its overall company strategy for what the Flip and it’s about to become one for the history books. ‘Course, Mr. Kaplan is probably doing just fine as his company, Pure Digital, was acquired in 2009 by Cisco for $590 million.
Not his problem anymore.