On the 17th December Bloomberg reported that Cisco is to sell Linksys. This clever and calculated move has been made as Cisco brought Linksys nearly ten years ago back in 2003. Rumours have previously been around about Linksys in past years, these rumours about Linksys’ as once before Cisco moved swiftly to sell off or kill the rest of its consumer offerings it seemed natural for Linksys to be next. Those rumours however came to nothing, making it a little difficult to trust Bloomberg’s report that Barclays has been engaged to find a buyer.
Cisco has very cleverly used the brand to give consumers and small business products. Cisco has done incredibly well in this market, however regardless of this, it has been a different story for the rest of them. Lead CEO John Chambers commented deciding the company has no business, Cisco’s long and inglorious retreat from the consumer business may be about to reach another miserable milestone, after Bloomberg reported Linksys is up for sale.
Cisco scooped up Linksys back in 2003 and used the brand to offer consumer and small business products. Cisco has done very well in the latter market, but the consumer market has been a mess for the networking titan, with its 2009 purchase of camera concern Pure Digital Technologies and its Flip video camera going sour in only two years. A consumer video conferencing offering also fared poorly, leading CEO John Chambers to decide the company had no business outside the world of business.
Despite that decision, Linksys has continued to operate, sometimes as ‘Linksys by Cisco’, but has not moved beyond its small business and consumer roots lacking growth and core potential. Nor did Cisco try to position it as an off brand competitor therefore lacking creative imagination and expansion. Ditching Linksys before Meraki brought by Cisco comes aboard makes sense as it will help Cisco to present a less-confusing portfolio of WiFi brands which stands at present.
Further to this Cisco letting Linksys go, almost certainly won’t hurt the networking giant for the moment. Absent imminent updates to the 802.11 standard, consumers and small businesses alike have little reason to contemplate new WiFi router purchases. The current devices also run for years, while many customers most probably have no idea maintenance like firmware updates are even possible, never mind necessary. It’s therefore hard to see much upside in continuing to own Linksys, especially now that Meraki is aboard with a highly successful past history.