This is really the culmination of a process that began some time ago and was clarified in July with numerous reports of John Chambers' official acknowledgement of the coming retirement of the Linksys brand. And, in fact, today's transition is still not the end of the Linksys brand.
This year saw the transition from the "Linksys" brand to "Linksys by Cisco" branding. Cisco says that the transition is now complete and that "Linksys by Cisco" branded products will coexist with Cisco branded products "over the near term".
Yes, the Linksys website is still alive and well, and there is even a forward from www.linksysbycisco.com to Cisco's main website. But there is also a spiffy new Consumer section on the Cisco site, which looks currently focused on promoting Cisco's "Digital Cribs" messaging.
One good thing that comes out of this transition is that Cisco will have an 8,000 sq ft booth in the Central Hall at the upcoming Las Vegas Consumer Electronics show in January. Cisco and Linksys have, of course, been at CES since Linksys disappeared from the show floor after its purchase. But the presence was offsite and by invitation only. In January any attendee will be able to see what Cisco is up to and ogle the new products that are sure to be on display.
The Central Hall location is interesting, since the other consumer networking companies such as D-Link and Netgear camp out in the South Hall. By locating itself in the location that houses general consumer electronics giants such as Panasonic, Sony, et al., Cisco looks to be sending a strong message that it has consumer aspirations far beyond basic networking.
So raise a glass to the purple and grey Linkies that sit in homes and offices around the world, quietly connecting millions of people to the big, wide Internet. They have been officially replaced by the black UFO's of mother Cisco. An appropriate color, don't you think?
The full text of Cisco's CBG announcement follows:
Effective immediately, Linksys, a Division of Cisco, has become the Cisco Consumer Business Group (CBG).
CGB will be the center of expertise for Cisco's consumer business and go to market model. CBG will focus on developing products and solutions that target the consumer and small office/home office (SOHO) market and enable the connected life. CGB will focus on consumer channels such as retail, online and consumer reseller partners. The group will also help build awareness for the Cisco brand in the North America consumer market and add value to products and relationships outside US and Canada where the Cisco brand is predominantly stronger.
Earlier this year, the company announced that the Linksys product brand was transitioning to "Linksys by Cisco". This transition has been completed and going forward Cisco consumer products will continue to be marketed under the Linksys by Cisco brand and co-exist in the market with Cisco branded products over the near term. We will continue to examine our branding strategy going forward (as we have to date) and make changes if and when these changes add value to our customers' decision making processes and our channel partners.
The overall consumer strategy of the Cisco Consumer Business Group is to capture the market transition from Home Networking 1.0, where home networks are largely designed to share a broadband connection between PCs and their peripherals, to Home Networking 2.0, where homes will become more multimedia enabled and experience a proliferation of networking devices and services. Ease-of-use, device discovery, and access to new services are becoming paramount to enhancing the consumer experience.
By enabling the consumer to be ready for these coming trends, Cisco is positioned to maintain and extend its leadership in this space. We believe Cisco is in a great position to educate the market and enable the consumer to be ready for a connected life.