R.I.P. Cisco Cius: another tablet bites the dust

SAN FRANCISCO — Cisco is pulling the plug on its Cius tablet. Despite the fact that the Cius never really went head to head with more consumer-centric tablets, the Cisco device is nevertheless the latest victim of the iPad’s dominance.

The tablet market seems to finally be evolving into an actual tablet market rather than a strictly iPad market with a bunch of wannabe also-rans. The current crop of tablets from Samsung, Toshiba, and Asus offer compelling features at a reasonable cost. However, the Cius is following in the footsteps of the HP TouchPad and won’t be sticking around to join the fray.

You might be saying to yourself, “Cisco had a tablet?” If so, you’re forgiven. Aside from the initial unveiling and hoopla when Cisco announced the Cius, it hasn’t really been in the spotlight. That’s because Cisco only offered it to enterprise customers through partner channels. You couldn’t just pick one up at Best Buy.
Even if you could, the $750 price tag would probably convince you to just buy an iPad, or consider any of the many Android tablet alternatives that offer more features and performance for a fraction of the cost. As a tablet, the Cius is a relatively capable–yet unremarkable–7-inch Android device.

So, if the Cius isn’t even offered through consumer retail channels, and wasn’t positioned to compete with the Apple iPad, why did it ultimately lose to the iPad? BYOD.

A Cisco research study revealed that 95 percent of the organizations surveyed allow some form of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and that more than a third (36 percent) fully embrace the BYOD concept by providing full IT support for employee-owned devices. Basically, if nearly all companies allow users to bring their own iPad to work there’s no longer a market for an over-priced enterprise-centric tablet.

Explaining the decision to discontinue the Cius, Cisco’s OJ Winge stated in a blog post, “These stats underscore a major shift in the way people are working, in the office, at home and on-the-go, a shift that will continue to gain momentum.”
Winge adds, “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.”

Even if BYOD weren’t a factor, the cost of a Cius would be hard for IT to justify. Cisco has a solid reputation and is trusted as a provider of enterprise infrastructure, but if a business can buy a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 for $250, why would it spend three times that amount for a Cius?

Rather than competing in the tablet market, Cisco will focus on meeting the software needs of tablet users across all platforms with tools like Jabber and WebEx.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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