Cisco has announced that it will be shutting the doors on its Flip Camera, once the darling of those who enjoyed recording those special moments. The Flip Camera took the nation by storm and sold two million units the first year it was released in 2007. Cisco bought the rights to the Flip in 2009 and thought the camera would be around for many moons. Unfortunately, the smart phone, with its own built-in camera and ability to record video, came out and sales of the Flip flopped.
But there is more to this story than just Cisco closing down one of its divisions and firing 550 employees. It is a signal on how just fast technology can change and how quickly consumers will bolt to the next best thing. The smart phone is the first device that has brought destruction to other devices in a quick and final death plunge. This is also a warning to others that the smart phone is going to get better and better and eventually may rule the roost and dethrone any in its path.
As new devices are introduced at a rapid pace, the time between industry cycles gets shorter and shorter. The Flip Camera lasted only four years before Cisco was forced to shutter the doors on the project. But smart phones have also put a dent in other technologies and devices besides just cameras.
Smart phones are starting to replace many of the traditional devices that man has been using for decades, even centuries. The smart phone is replacing the wrist watch since the phone can tell the user the time and be 100% accurate. The alarm clock and portable music players are also being replaced by the smart phone as are other devices like GPS units and cameras.
With Cisco raking in some $40B a year in revenue, closing the Flip Camera division — which was taking in $400M — may also be an attempt to shore up the company’s profit margin.