A Tragic Death

**By David Pogue   Article

The Tragic Death of the Flip

“Day before yesterday, my jaw hit the floor, and I still haven’t managed to get it back up again. Cisco is killing the Flip camcorder. Let’s see if I can get this straight. Only two years ago, Cisco bought Pure Digital, the company that made the Flip, for $590 million. Then, on Tuesday, Cisco announced that it’s shutting down the whole division and laying off 550 people.

… why is it killing the Flip and not selling it? The most plausible reason is that Cisco wants the technology in the Flip more than it wants the business. Cisco is, after all, in the videoconferencing business, and the Flip’s video quality—for its size and price—was amazing. Maybe, in fact, that was Cisco’s plan all along. Buy the beloved Flip for its technology, then shut it down and fire 550 people.

But there’s a second part of the tragedy, too, something that nobody knows. That new Flip that the product manager showed me was astonishing. It was called FlipLive, and it added one powerful new feature to the standard Flip: live broadcasting to the Internet. … And the FlipLive was supposed to ship yesterday. April 13. The day after Cisco killed the Flip. Nice.

I loved the Flip. I loved that its creators, year after year, resisted the urge to gunk it up with complexity and featuritis. I love that it never, ever let me down. I loved that this startup company created something that changed the world, and ultimately reaped the rewards in popularity and sales.

Unfortunately, it also reaped the rewards that come from selling to a megalithic corporation like Cisco. Yes, there was plenty of money to go around, but also the risk that always comes when you sell to a bigger company: that they’ll chop you up and sell off your parts. Or, in Cisco’s case, much worse: chop you up and leave you for dead.”  – Article

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