The tablet market is really starting to get unforgiving, and as the competition heats up, some of the big players are getting out. The most notable and quickest exit from the market, of course, was HP, when they canceled their much anticipated TouchPad weeks after its launch. While it was not a full departure from tablets, it was an end to a new market they purchased.
Another company that seemed to end up in the tablet market almost accidentally is Cisco. A little less than a year ago, Cisco launched the Cius line of tablets, a line of Android-powered, 7-inch devices designed for enterprise. While Cisco thought they had a fix to low sales in December with a larger version, but it seems they have changed their minds. It looks like decreasing, not increasing, sales will end the Cius tablet in the same museum as the Flip video.
Why has Cisco, the biggest name in networking, had trouble gaining traction in the most networkable device ever? Hit the break for some possibilities.
Cisco's biggest problem has been in that they designed the device to be an enterprise tablet. While it seems like a device designed for enterprise would be widely adopted, most corporations have adopted a "bring your own device" policy, meaning if you have your own tablet, bring it in and we can set it up to work with our network. With a policy like that, it is very difficult to convince a company to spend money on a tablet specifically designed for enterprise, especially when it doesn't really differentiate itself from other tablets.
While there were apps designed specifically designed for the Cius, certain very enterprise-level features were either missing or massively lacking. Seemingly ignoring this fact, Cisco will focus its attention on software offerings for other tablet manufacturers, including the recently launched Jabber app for iPad. This decision might pay off for Cisco, though it didn't work well for HP, who fired their CEO for the same decision.
Cisco has lost its focus and still doesn't know exactly who they are in this ever-changing market. If any company can make this decision pay off for them, it's Cisco. While hardware is what people know them for, it's their management software that they sell.