Cisco Moving To Clarify Linksys Role


While Cisco bought Linksys to get a piece of the home networking market, Linksys at the time was well on its way to becoming a powerful player in the small-business networking space as well.

Cisco's subsequent SMB moves have many VARs wondering where Linksys stops and Cisco begins. Since the acquisition, Cisco, San Jose, Calif., has categorized Linksys as a home or SOHO player, recently upgrading its role to include small businesses with 20 or fewer employees.

All the while, Irvine, Calif.-based Linksys has continued to pursue its small-business networking strategy, adding more robust products to its line.

To clear up some confusion, the two companies are moving away from a "seat count" definition of small business. Now, Linksys will focus on customers that rely on VARs to manage their networks, and Cisco will focus on customers with professional IT staff.

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As part of that effort, Cisco and Linksys last week launched a program that lets customers trade Linksys products for Cisco gear as their networking needs become more sophisticated. Focused on Linksys' small-business products, the Linksys To Cisco Trade-Up Program provides Linksys customers with mail-in rebates of up to 100 percent of the purchase price of their Linksys gear when they trade it for selected Cisco products, said Allen Powell, director of channel sales for Linksys.

Gia McNutt, CEO of Special Order Systems, a Rocklin, Calif., solution provider that sells both Cisco and Linksys, said of the program: "A lot of small businesses buy on price instead of on features. I think it's a smart move to give them a way to trade up as they grow. It really makes the connection between Cisco and Linksys."