Flip Camera, your fifteen minutes are up. Just a couple of years ago, it was the VW Bug of Camcorders. I got one. It was so cute, I wanted to hug it. Then Cisco bought Flip's maker, Pure Digital, for $590 million. Sadly for Flip, that 2009 deal is now sooo five minutes ago. Cisco announced this week it will no longer make Flip cameras and is pulling back on its consumer product strategy.
As an aside; the umi Telepresence product line, formerly marketed for the home market at outrageous prices, will now be shifted towards the enterprise market (which has no qualms about paying through the nose for tech goodies).
We'll never know, of course, what would have happened if Pure Digital had stayed pure. Perhaps the Flip would have survived with new features and innovations each product cycle to keep it a few steps ahead of the smartphone.
With Cisco as its distracted parent company, Flip simply flopped. Fewer people are interested in them, when they can point and shoot a quick video on their iPhone or Android and upload it to Facebook or YouTube seamlessly. I admit my Flip rarely leaves the back of my sock drawer these days. I just use my iPhone, instead.
In this brave new world of a bajillion apps, I believe the days of single function gadgets are all but over.
What's our takeaway from all this?
For Cisco: it's a $590 million "oops" and an admission that they need to stick with what they know—the enterprise market.
For the smaller, independent company: it's a cautionary tale. You may want to think twice about who you sell your baby too, if you truly want to see it grow up someday. No one will ever love the product you created more than you!