Cisco Pulls Plug on Umi

Back in October of 2010, networking vendor Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) announced a new home telepresence device called the Umi. The Umi was intended to be Cisco entry into a new market, the home telepresence business. With Umi telepresence, the original goal was to bring high-quality video conference to the home. It’s a goal that now is not going to be pursued by Cisco any further.

As part of a strategy announced in April of 2011, Cisco realigned their consumer business units. That realignment saw the Umi become part of the Cisco business telepresence portfolio. Another part of the realignment included closing the Flip digital camera business unit, which Cisco had paid $590 million to acquire in 2009. Now the Umi is set for the same fate.

“Following the integration we elected to review our Cisco Umi distribution strategy, and consequently decided to no longer sell Cisco Umi hardware as a consumer offering,” Cisco spokesperson David McCulloch told

Though Umi hardware is no longer being sold, existing devices will continue to be supported.

“While we are ending the sale of Umi, the Umi service remains unchanged,” McCulloch said. “Existing customers will continue to be able to use the service to make calls to other Umi subscribers or to Google video chat accounts.”

Cisco’s move to restructure its business and focus less on the consumer space is one that has been working out for the company so far. The streamlining of operations and focus on key enterprise business unit is seen by CEO John Chambers as a way to simplify the business and grow financial results.

While Cisco is exiting the home telepresence business, it remains committed to the enterprise market. McCulloch noted that the end of the Umi will have no impact on business telepresence. Cisco has spent big dollars to help build its enteprise telepresence business which includes $3.3 billion spent to acquire Tandberg in 2010.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals.

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