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Rumor-mongering: Cisco dumping Linksys?

Is Cisco dumping the Linksys home networking brand? It depends on who you talk to.

Cisco Systems is giving up on attacking every market adjacency and trying to sharpen its focus on enterprise networks, as per CEO John Chambers pronouncement some weeks back. Wall Street cheered the news and network engineers harrumphed while saying that it’s about time. The first big shoe to drop following this news was the shuttering of Cisco’s Flip camera business. Just a couple years ago Cisco was making the Flip a centerpiece of its consumer products division. Now the product, which Cisco handed over $600 million to acquire, is history.

Then last week we heard that Cisco was reorganizing its internal decision-making operation. Leadership in the engineering division was shuffled and the cross-functional council structure that Chambers had put in place to decentralize decision-making was scaled back.

Now The Register reports that Cisco refuses to deny rumors that it will sell off the Linksys brand, and possibly WebEx. Reporting on rumors is pretty tough to do, and it forces people to write up a story that’s angled on a vendor’s refusal to comment or deny the rumor. Still, the rumor is floating out there. Cisco is supposedly on the verge of selling off the Linksys brand that it’s had since 2003.

But wait! What do we have here? Little-known (to me, at least) publication (“The Middle East’s leading technology site”) is reporting that Cisco remains committed to the Linksys brand. Amanulla Khan, a regional manager of Cisco’s consumer business in the United Arab Emirates, who is showing off Cisco-Linksys products at the Middle Eastern tech show DCC MEA, says Cisco has a “long term consumer focus” and will continue to build the Linksys business.

These two articles were published just one hour apart.

It’s possible that some pending sell-off hasn’t filtered out to Cisco’s EMEA operation, but who knows? Is Linksys going? Is WebEx? Will Cisco lay off thousands of employees shortly? Only time will tell. Until then, it’s all rumors.

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