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Do You Flip? Cisco Says "No" And Shuts Down Flip Video

FlipvideoI've always thought the Flip video cameras were among the coolest of the latest wave of consumer video gadgets out there. Pull one out, point it at someone or something, press the big red button and start recording. Flip out the USB connector to plug it into your PC or Mac and... ta da... your video was up onto YouTube or in email or whatever.

How many zillion videos have been shot with Flip cameras over the past few years? How many "person-on-the-street" video interviews have been shot at events, conferences or just anywhere? How many video podcasts have had episodes quickly created via Flip cameras?

I long desired a Flip camera but held off for the promise of some of the WiFi-enabled versions that Cisco talked about some time back. Meanwhile, many folks continued to buy them.

Not any more.

Cisco Systems announced this morning that it is shutting down the Flip video division and will "support current FlipShare customers and partners with a transition plan".

On one level, it's not a huge surprise... the acquisition by Cisco always seemed a bit strange. While Cisco has had a consumer presence, most notably with the Linksys product line, that consumer focus was still around Cisco's core networking. You could stretch the Flip acquisition to fit in with all of Cisco's other breathless talk about video, video, video... but still, it was a consumer camera and did seem odd. Obviously Cisco management held this view.

One also has to wonder if there really is a place now for a dedicated "pocket" video camera. I do record videos these days... but using my iPhone 4 that is always with me and able to just start recording. With the rise of the iPhone, Android devices and even Blackberries with cameras, the writing may have been on the proverbial wall for Flip for quite some time.

Still, it's worth pausing for a moment and celebrating how effective Flip was at introducing so many people to creating new video content and sharing it online. Thanks, Flip, for all you did... and for your "big red button" that made it so easy for people to get started!

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