RIP Flip Camera: Hey Cisco Open Source The Camera

Craft & Design
RIP Flip Camera: Hey Cisco Open Source The Camera


Back in 2009 Cisco bought Pure Digital Technology’s Flip. Gadget fans and makers were puzzled by this, phones were just about good enough to start beating the Flip. Odd purchase for Cisco. Some details from the WSJ

Cisco two years ago made a big splash by buying the maker of the Flip, the perfect-for-the-YouTube-age video camera that was then a tech geek accessory of choice. Now, Cisco is killing off the Flip.

Today, the company announced it will “exit aspects of its consumer businesses,” including shutting down Flip.

Just a week ago, Cisco CEO John Chambers issued a mea culpa admitting to problems with slow decision making and lack of “discipline” at the networking company. Chambers signaled that change was coming, and apparently Flip was steamrolled to make way for change.

In 2009, Cisco agreed to acquire Flip maker Pure Digital Technology in a stock deal valued at around $590 million at the time. The deal was one of Cisco’s biggest forays into the fickle, low margin world of consumer electronics. At the time (and since), analysts questioned whether Cisco was making a mistake by getting into the fiercely competitive business with established giants such as Sony.

And a bit more from Gigom

Cisco is giving up on its barely two-year-old $590 million purchase of Pure Digital Technologies, announcing today that it is closing its Flip business unit and cutting 550 employees as part of a larger restructuring. The move comes after clear signs that the outsized deal was not paying off for the technology giant, which is in the midst of refocusing its business on its core networking business.

Cisco said it will close the Flip business, but will continue to support current Flipshare customers who upload and share media to the web. Cisco said it will also refocus its Home Networking business to make it more profitable and connected to the company’s networking infrastructure. It will also move Umi, its consumer Telepresence, into the business Telepresence line and sell it through an enterprise and service provider go-to-market model.

Pt 10936

The Flip and cameras like it are cheap and attracted lots of hacks. From underwater ROVs to my favorite, mounting them on model rockets. Rocket-Launched Camcorder, MAKE 07.

But now it’s all gone? What a waste, Cisco, will you at least consider open sourcing the camera design(s) so you can put some value back in before you shelve the camera IP? You’re never going to do anything with it, just have someone post the firmware on GitHub and all the CAD stuff on Thingiverse. The rest, just publish anywhere, a BOM, etc. Allow your engineers to write about making these cameras – don’t let it all away like so many other tech acquisitions and destructions. Think of all the science, art, robotics and educational applications we could all gain by this – Cisco, you could be the first to release an open source camera for the world. Cisco, this would the best news in the world of making, it would show leadership and an investment in the future for anyone who used, hacked and improved this “open source camera” from Cisco. You don’t have time for this you can just send us the files, we’ll do it for you.

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