UMI, Flip, and Ojo – Where Video Was a No-Go

Cisco has announced it’s closing down the Flip business and folding the UMI video conferencing product into its Business TelePresence line. The news comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that WorldGate, maker of the ill-fated Ojo video phone, has finally shut its doors for good. Bye bye, badly-managed video products. Hello, smartphone and tablet world.

As an early Flip camera fanatic, I’m sorry to see the brand die, but Dave called it a year ago. Not only was the product outside of Cisco’s wheelhouse, it also had a limited window of success because of the video functions being loaded into smartphones. I currently own a Kodak Zi8 video camera. It’s a great little device, but I don’t think I’ve pulled it out of my bag since last June.

As for the two video phone products – really, what were those guys thinking? Even perfectly executed, the Cisco and Worldgate (briefly Motorola) SKUs were awfully expensive alternatives to free video Skype on the web. Yes, Apple has been successful at introducing a product we don’t really need for hundreds of dollars, but the iPad does a lot more than just video, and in the case of the iPad 2, video calls. Oh yeah, and that video calling thing? Watch Apple make it a hit. I still think video calling is a killer app. Just not for the UMI or the Ojo.

7 thoughts on “UMI, Flip, and Ojo – Where Video Was a No-Go”

  1. Too bad Cisco couldn’t find a buyer for Flip. I guess, all-in-one phones were really eating into Flip’s revenue, but – at least – Flip has its moment in the sun as opposed to UMI. And I liked Ellen Page ads, but why would Cisco feel a need to advertise to consumers is beyond me. Do what you do best and be a B2B powerhouse.

    So what consumer brands are still in Cisco family? Just routers like Linksys and Valet, right?

  2. It doesn’t appear that Cisco even tried to find a buyer for the Flip business. I’m just extraordinarily surprised. Sure, the new phones are providing competition, but every single mom, grandpa and non-tech person that I know who has a Flip loves it. It’s practically a cult phenomena when you talk to them.

    I understand Cisco divesting themselves. But why not take all of the consumer brands and sell them off to a private-equity company to sort it all out? Doesn’t make sense.

  3. Yeah, it’s kinda crazy. If I were an investor, I’d be upset. Surely the Flip brand still has value, even if the recent and unreleased products don’t.

  4. Clearly the market is commoditizing and Flip isn’t and never was a good fit for Cisco, who is used to much better margins (and clearly had no idea what the hell to do with this product), but as you say Flip still has a name and a market and is worth SOMETHING. Why they’re shuttering it rather than selling it off is beyond me.

  5. The flip HD is great. We gave ours to the kids to use when our company gave us iPhone 4s, which we now use to take short videos of the kids… sorry to see them go.

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