Flip Flop: Cisco Kills Off Digital Video Camera

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The Flip portable digital video camera is no more. Manufacturer Cisco is ceasing production of the budget pocket camcorder as part of a restructuring plan, shutting down the division and laying off 550 employees. Existing FlipShare customers and partners will be offered a transition plan.

Originally a pioneer in home filmmaking whose simple controls and one-touch Web uploads made video production and sharing simple, the Flip has since faced heated competition from rival manufacturers including JVC, DXG and Creative. Recent missteps such as the introduction of the overpriced, undercooked SlideHD have done little to boost fan enthusiasm, while competing units have offered advancements ranging from 3-D graphics (Bloggie 3D) to external microphone support (Kodak Zi8). Despite Cisco purchasing the popular video camera from maker Pure Digital Technology in 2009 for $590 million in a bid to diversify sales, the company's plan to shutter the Flip Video unit meshes with its goal to shift its focus away from consumer businesses.

"We are making key, targeted moves as we align operations in support of our network-centric platform strategy," said John Chambers, Cisco chairman and CEO. "As we move forward, our consumer efforts will focus on how we help our enterprise and service provider customers optimize and expand their offerings for consumers, and help ensure the network's ability to deliver on those offerings." 

These announced realignments are expected to cost the company $300 million in losses this year, as well as the good will of countless aspiring music video directors and moviemakers.