Cisco Pulls the Plug on Overpriced umi Line

The sales of Cisco’s umi videoconferencing product evidently missed expectations, now that the company announced it will no longer be shipping new units. It will, however, continue to offer tech support to customers who’ve already purchased the set-top box.

The solution is undeniably gimmicky, but the main issue that drove Cisco to abandon umi is that it simply doesn’t fit into the current market. The $599 price tag and bulky hardware proved to be no match against alternatives such as Skype, which is free and can be installed on the user’s mobile device as well. A premise of higher-quality communications simply wasn’t sufficient to draw a big enough audience.

This latest decision represents a broader effort to trim the fat off Cisco, which became bulky under the weight of too many units spread across a very broad range of areas.

“As part of that decision, Cisco chief executive John Chambers decided to refocus on its core competencies. “As we move forward, our consumer efforts will focus on how we help our enterprise and service provider customers optimize and expand their offerings for consumers, and help ensure the network’s ability to deliver on those offerings,” he said then.”

Chambers is sticking to his goal. About a year ago we reported that the company decided to pull the plug on its Flip unit and lay off the 500 workers, who at the time were very close to introducing the second version of the video recording device. In August, Cisco made similar move and shut down a green energy initiative.

Cisco’s efforts have already begun to pay off, considering that the networking giant is now fully committed to its core businesses. Last month it made a smart move by unifying a significant portion of its cloud portfolio under one name.