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The timing of Cius to market didn't help Cisco, solution providers agreed. The hype around the device dissipated pretty quickly, especially with so many other vendors launching tablets and Apple coming to market, in March 2011, with the second iPad.
"When Cius launched we had all that anticipation. Then you had that long delay in getting it to market," Force 3's Parry said. "We lost the window of opportunity. Once iPad 2 came out, it just kind of killed that conversation for us. We were talking with customers about the [Cius] concept, but it was, 'Oh, by the way, you can't get it for a year.' People got frustrated and started to look at other alternatives."
Other Cisco partners see the Cius decision as an important admission by Cisco that, much like the company's other priorities around its restructuring, proves it's re-focusing on the right things.
"The market dictated that would happen before Cius even took hold," said Steven Reese, vice president of collaboration and security architectures at Presidio, a Greenbelt, Md.-based solution provider. "Cisco recognizes that they're starting to look like a software company and they need to go after the software market."
"It does signal a different Cisco," ZK Research's Kerravala said. "Historically, Cisco would have gone to the wall with this product -- they'd want to control the experience and think the only way to do that was by owning the device. That was one of the reasons they bought Flip, I think. But you don't necessarily have to own the device to control the experience. Being able to have your interface on the iPad reaches orders of magnitude more people."
Cisco will ultimately benefit by placing Jabber and its UC wares in as many mobile device contexts as possible. It's pointless to compete head to head with the iPad, Kerravala argued, if you don't have a better mousetrap.
"If you're not Apple, it's over. You're going to be lucky to get one to two percent market share," Kerravala told CRN. "Someone would have to make a device that's substantially better than the iPad to get anyone to even look at it. There are always a handful of people that are going to go against the grain, but from a Cisco perspective, it appears they decided, if we can't beat 'em, join 'em. Apple's no threat to the rest of Cisco's business."
"I see a day when I can dock my iPad, and it's my high-def video endpoint, and it's not a PC or a Mac," added Presidio's Reese. "So Cisco taking those dollars out of Cius and prioritizing to make the software more relevant will help make them become more relevant very quickly."