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If timing is everything, than Cisco's Cius tablet was a swing-and-miss: It misread the rising tide of BYOD and the dominance of Apple's mighty iPad, and its Cius missed a key window of opportunity thanks to Cisco taking nearly a year following the launch for the Cius to reach general availability.
That was the consensus of several major Cisco solution providers interviewed by CRN in the wake of Cisco's decision to stop investing in the Cius, which Cisco confirmed in a corporate blog post late last week.
Technically, it's not a kill-off. Cisco's O.J. Winge, senior vice president, TelePresence Technology Group, said in the company blog that Cisco would continue to support Cius customers and would offer Cius "in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases."
But for Cisco observers who had visions of Cisco tablet dominance dancing in their heads when Cius was released two years ago, Winge's blog post is a death knell. Cisco, for its part, has already begun shifting investment dollars to key UC priorities like its Jabber platform, and Cius will now begin a long fade into obscurity.
"I think it was inevitable," said Jason Parry, practice director, unified communications for Force 3, a Crofton, Md.-based solution provider. "The response for Cius, from what we saw, just wasn't great. It was a good concept, but I think from a timing perspective, it was just a little too late. The reality is that customers' employees are bringing in iPads."
"I wasn't surprised at all," said Gary Alexander, CEO of Alexander Open Systems, an Overland Park, Kan.-based solution provider. "Apple just has too much of a head start and too much market share, that even with a great product like Cius, when you're that late, and it's such a narrow market, it's hard to bust in. I never believed they would make the progress they hoped to make. It was just a day late and a dollar short."
Brett LaCourse, senior market development manager at Teracai, a Syracuse-based solution provider, said Cius was a very small piece of Teracai's business: Roughly a dozen customers and about 100 units deployed, he said, with many of those seeded to corporate users as a way to gauge demand.
"I remember two years ago at Partner Summit, you heard about Cius in every other session, and this year, I want to say I heard about Cius exactly twice," he said. "It's just clear there wasn't much demand."
Cisco did not respond to requests for additional comment on the Cius announcement.