Cisco announced yesterday the demise of the Cius. The noise level of the announcement on Cisco’s collaboration blog matched the product’s market awareness: close to zero. The Cius was supposed to be the first enterprise tablet. It lasted less than two years from launch in June 2010. That beats the HP Touchpad’s 49 days by a long shot. While both products could be brought back from the dead based on company annoucements, don’t count on it. These devices were already far behind Apple and Samsung products. Without presence in the market, they would surely fall further behind.
Cisco’s stated reason for discontinuing the Cius is to adjust to market demand and focus more on its software products says Senior Vice President TelePresence Technology Group OJ Winge.
Over the last year, Cisco has demonstrated a commitment to delivering innovative software like Cisco Jabber and Cisco WebEx across a wide spectrum of operating systems, tablets and Smart Phones. We’re seeing tremendous interest in these software offerings. Customers see the value in how these offerings enable employees to work on their terms in the Post-PC era, while still having access to collaboration experiences.
Based on these market transitions, Cisco will no longer invest in the Cisco Cius tablet form factor, and no further enhancements will be made to the current Cius endpoint beyond what’s available today. However, as we evaluate the market further, we will continue to offer Cius in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases.
No more investment. No further enhancements. We all know what that means: we are canceling the product, but will do our best to give our customers a soft landing…sorry.
The Cius Lesson for BYOD
What does “enterprise” mean in a BYOD world. In the Cius concept, it meant Cisco collaboration tools and none of the fun and convenience that made the iPad a runaway hit. There is perfect symmetry in this announcement and the article earlier this week in MIT’s Technology Review on IBM’s BYOD program. Lock out consumer tools on mobile devices and you are sure to have an adoption problem.
What Should the Enterprise Do about Tablets?
The last thing any enterprise wants is to standardize on a product and then have it discontinued. This wastes a lot of time, effort and money. It is clear that the iPad is here to stay. The Samsung Galaxy tablets may have staying power simply because of the strength of Samsung’s smartphone product line. Other than that it is hard to see another tablet gaining much enterprise market share in the near term. This will have implications for costs associated with low volumes and disincentives for developers to support tablet apps supporting the Android platform.
Marc Andreessen has developed a thesis around, “why software is eating the world.” It is fair to say that Webex and Jabber aren’t enough to satisfy enterprise user appetites. The broad range of useful apps available on the iPad are likely to be its enduring strength. They highlight key deficiencies of any alternative hardware because so many apps provide meaningful productivity benefits to users whether they are in their employee or consumer persona.
Consumerization of IT Takes Another Scalp
The demise of the Cius reinforces the consumerization of IT trend. The Cius was far from a consumer device. You couldn’t even purchase one without a relationship to an authorized Cisco reseller. Friction to adoption followed the traditional enterprise IT sales model. However, that probably had little influence on its ultimate fate. The lack of consumer facing applications and utility certainly made it a hard sell when CEOs were toting iPads with a host of other benefits.
Do you think a enterprise-only tablet can succeed in today’s marketplace. I look forward to your comments below.