Cisco’s Flip stewardship: so far, very good

image Dave Zatz questions whether Cisco will destroy the Flip brand. To that I would offer, if opening up international distribution and investing millions in advertising during the holidays and after (resulting in excellent sales results) show Cisco killing the Flip brand, than it is certainly doing so with kindness. Like Dave, I thought the FlipShare TV product was certainly off the beaten path for Pure Digital’s history of minimalism and simplicity. Some of this was execution, but some of it was the scope of the task given today’s technology options (which I believe will improve dramatically in the next two years). The SlideHD may be a similar philosophical departure.

On the other hand, while the Flip’s market share remains strong, competition continues to grow – both with better competitors within the category and from adjacent categories such as digital cameras and cameraphones. I’ve long said that – just as it was a challenge for Apple to differentiate the iPod based on such factors as device size and file transfer speed – it will be a challenge for the Flip to compete with other flash camcorders as the declining price-capacity ratios of flash memory enable other camcorder makers to match the Flip’s size and price point. Perhaps the surprise is that, with the Slide, Cisco has embraced a feature that could be considered gimmicky, but both it and the FlipShare TV are directionally consistent with the longstanding Flip mission of lowering the barriers to sharing video.

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