See Ya Later, Cius: Cisco Changes Tablet Strategy


Acknowledging that its attempts to market a business-class Android tablet are over, Cisco Systems executives Thursday said the company is halting investments in the fledgling Cius product line.

"[We] will no longer invest in the Cisco Cius tablet," said Marthin DeBeer, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Video and Collaboration Group. "Instead, we're going to continue leveraging other people's tablets and move to deploy Jabber, as well as our other software on top of that," DeBeer told CRN.

"We're not going to bring out additional models of Cius because that would be like swimming upstream. The software represents a much larger opportunity for us," he said. "We might make it available in a very limited way for specific use cases, but our future business is going into software-based solutions."

DeBeer's statements were echoed in a blog posted by OJ Winge, Cisco's senior vice president of the TelePresence Technology Group. "Moving forward, we intend to double down on software offerings, like Jabber and WebEx, that provide the anytime, anywhere and any-device experiences," Winge wrote. "We will leverage key learnings and key collaboration experiences native to Cius in our other collaboration products."

Meanwhile, Cisco is looking for channel partners interested in helping the networking vendor extend its reach into video and collaboration. With more than 90 percent of the Internet's bandwidth being used to support video, the channel is seen as instrumental in fine-tuning the video installations, and in beefing up the back-end infrastructure necessary to carry the bandwidth-intensive traffic.

At a gathering of technology reporters at the company headquarters in San Jose, Calif., DeBeer spoke at length about how the technology is focused on both business and home users, as well as the underlying opportunity on the business-to-business side of the house.

"Resources are very widely deployed and very scarce nowadays," said DeBeer. "Having the technology that allows you to bring the right people together at the right time has become a real competitive advantage. So from a business-case scenario, these capabilities enhance the speed of doing business, reduce travel expenses and drive additional productivity because the same person can have a lot more interactions in any given day.

"From a channel standpoint, the emphasis is on upgrading the network infrastructure and making sure the environment is ready. Plus with video, TelePresence and unified communications, there's a lot of emphasis on the channel because there are so many moving parts and variables," he added.

Cisco's Cius, its first foray into the tablet space, was noticeably absent from its Cisco Partner Summit in March, raising questions about the strength of the vendor's tablet business.

Cisco historically only maintains product offerings in technology segments where it can achieve a No. 1 or No. 2 market position. The Cius had attained neither.