Industry unsurprised at demise of Cisco Cius tablet

Cisco Cius

Cisco's decision to withdraw from the tablet PC market has been blamed on high prices, poor interoperability and Apple's all-conquering iPad.

In a blog post published last week, the networking titan confirmed that it was canning its enterprise-focused Cisco Cius tablet, less than a year after it was launched.

Cius is representative of Cisco trying to remain the end-to-end solution for its customers while simultaneously locking out competitors.

"Cisco will no longer invest in the Cisco Cius tablet form factor, and no further enhancements will be made to the current Cius endpoint beyond what's available today," wrote OJ Winge, senior vice president of Cisco's TelePresence Technology Group.

"However, as we evaluate the market further, we will continue to offer Cius in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases."

The post cites the bring your own device (BYOD) trend as a contributing factor in the product's demise, and said it plans to "double down" on the development of its software products, WebEx and Jabber.

The former is an online meetings tool and the latter lets end users collaborate and communicate online using Android, Windows and MacOS devices.

On its debut last year, many of the Cius' features were lauded by IT Pro, including its robust design and the fact the device could be used to make calls, but concerns were raised by our reviewer about its $700 asking price.

Speaking to IT Pro today, Larry Walsh, chief executive of analyst group The 2112 Group, said the device's "premium price tag" and the proliferation of iPads in the enterprise would have made the Cius a tough sell.

"You could get a Cius unit for slightly less than an iPad, but it came with a lot of back office equipment and software requirements that drove up the price," said Walsh.

The product was also designed to work almost exclusively with Cisco's own offerings, which limited its appeal.

"Cius is representative of Cisco trying to remain the end-to-end solution for its customers while simultaneously locking out competitors," Walsh explained.

"The trouble is competitors are already well entrenched and the technology is too limited for end users' needs."

Dheeraj Pandey, chief executive of storage vendor Nutanix, said the firm was right to ditch the tablet and turn its attention to software.

"[Cisco] needed to provide clarity to the market and investors that it was beginning to focus and John Chambers needs to be seen as a decisive leader," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.