Cisco

Cisco to kill Linksys brand


In a roundtable with the European press, Mr. John Chambers, the chairman and chief executive officer of Cisco, has confirmed the "end of life" of the Linksys name. The Linksys brand will be replaced by the new and redesigned Cisco branding.

According to UberPulse:

This decision follows Cisco's move last April to make it easier for Linksys resellers to add Cisco products to their offerings and vice versa. Also, just a few weeks ago, Cisco created a new division solely focused on the SMB market and headed by Rick Moran, formerly marketing chief of several Cisco communications applications like the unified communications portfolio, Cisco IPICS, Cisco Small Business Systems (Linksys One), TelePresence, Business Video and Physical security.

On Cisco's decision to integrate consumer products into the Cisco brand, John Chambers noted that the reason that the Linksys brand name was kept was due to it being better known in the US. However, the advantage diminishes on the global consumer market, resulting in "very little advantage in [keeping it]".

It is clear that Cisco plans a very aggressive move into consumer markets in the coming year or two.

Do you think Cisco will have too much dominance? Also, what kind of consumer products do you envision coming from Cisco?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

39 comments
retro77
retro77

I think they will release better and more reliable products since the bigger name, Cisco, is on the line. I've been using their products for years and I like them 100%. I know they will not require you to drop down to the command line to program your access point, but it would be a cool feature. I think the Cisco brand will do well at home. I'll through out my Linksys router for a Cisco one any day!

doug
doug

Cisco makes really crappy products. I've had two pix boxes fail on me in the last couple years. And the pix box VPN goes down all the time. Crappy and hard to use products. Does Cisco think the average homeowner is going to be calling in Cisco certified techs for installs? Here's what every single computer person in America whose had to work with a Cisco product is going to say when a friend/relative asks about buying Cisco "No, that way to complex. What about a linksys? " From what I can see, companies on the bleeding edge are bailing on Cisco products.Look at all the competitors there are right now. What's more, this is going to kill their corporate sales. We bought a 3500 Cisco Pix box a year or so ago. Can you imagine how hard it's going to be to get something like that approved when the bosses see Cisco being sold in Best Buy for a hundred?

tom.downey
tom.downey

I think a multi-million dollar corporation, with a products as successful as their high end routing and network equipment knows a think or two about "branding". Common people, the Linksys brand was an acquisition... I'm sure Cisco will survive.

tad1214
tad1214

To me, Linksys means I will have to upgrade my firmware first thing. My wr54g, my girlfriends wr54gs, and my cable router (can't remeber model) all locked up frequently until I did a firmware upgrade. They got so bad you couldn't ping the interface address. The wireless signal stayed so you didn't know right away why your internet randomly stopped working. If there was any load it would poop out. I think the cisco move will be good. I know as a regular consumer if I can get a chunk of what High end networks use, even if its just a brand, I want it. Hey, if Cisco is good enough for the big guys, it is definetly good for me. Plus with Cisco pushing their phones into every store a teen shops at (Hollister, Best Buy, etc.) what do you think they are going to buy when they need a wireless internet "thingy" ?

DownRightTired
DownRightTired

Its definitely a bold move, but may pay off. Cisco has been promoting its name more and more in the last couple years and has long been known for being the industry standard in routing. I think the name Cisco will stand out alot more on a store shelf than all the various iterations of *link* and *net* products. I think the key will be to educate the general public on its longstanding history in the tech world.

NaughtyMonkey
NaughtyMonkey

I personally don't care what the name is as long as they maintain the low cost and quality of the Linksys products. Hopefully they will not think that since it says Cisco, they should charge more. A good percentage of home users on the other hand, don't even know who Cisco is in the US. Not certain about elsewhere. They will see this as a new company that they have never heard of and they will buy something they have heard of, like NetGear or D-Link. Not a smart move since the Linksys brand has been established and well known to all consumers.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. Branding 101: Branding is the art of getting a strong word association in the minds of customers. It is a big achievement and very valuable. If you succeed, DON'T MESS WITH IT! ** In the minds of customers, the word "Linksys" means simple, reliable, high quality, inexpensive networking gear (to SMBs and home users). ** In the minds of customers, the word "Cisco" means industrial, high complexity, expensive networking gear (to large corporations). Cisco killing the "Linksys" brand is raw arrogance and stupidity. Big mistake, Cisco.

e2bc
e2bc

I believe Cisco is making a mistake killing Linksys brand. I understand Cisco has been trying to get into the small business and home market for many years. Acquiring Linksys was certainly a brilliant move. Consumers recognize the name "Linksys" better than any other brands on the market. The name "Cisco" is just too intimidating for home users. Cisco must come up with a resounding marketing plan to make their brand more friendly and entertaining.

paulmah
paulmah

what kind of consumer products do you envision coming from Cisco?

doug
doug

I have Cisco equipment at home. I had to for VPNs to my clients. The first $1500 pix box I had just failed after about a year. I had to get the updated $500 model. I hate having to go in an adjust access-lists and ip's thru Cisco's extremely cryptic IOS evertime my provider makes a change.

radicalspud
radicalspud

first off, Cisco, like any other technology company, is just that, primarily: a company. they will seek to make the most money for the least amount of investment. so, they will likely market the same products that are now called "Linksys" as "Cisco" and raise the prices on them to be more in line with the expectations of what "Cisco" means. personally, i think it's totally stupid to kill off a brand that's VERY well known and trusted by many people, but they aren't thinking from the consumers point of view, so it doesn't matter. one would expect they've got their corporate reasons for it and hope that their vision of the future somehow includes all the things Linksys means to people as a brand, even without the name. i've had far better luck with Linksys than any other brand (Netgear, D-Link, Trendnet, Belkin) that i've used, though Netgear stuff is pretty good for home use (generally reliable, easy to configure). Linksys *was* the only brand i would buy if i had any say in the matter. i flash the firmware on a new device as a matter of course unless it's the newest version already. i had to RMA a WRT300N router that was dead right out of the box and they replaced it with no hassles, as opposed to D-Link, who insisted on wasting 30 minutes of my time going through the same tests i had already run, to "prove" that it was actually dead. i've never had a linksys product die in usage, that i can recall. the WRT54-series routers are awesome; i mean, come on, open source alternative firmware?! can't find that on D-Link or Netgear (or Cisco, for that matter). the antennas are *easily* replaced on any Linksys router/AP that has them (again, unlike D-Link or Netgear), due to the standard N-type connectors. the configuration pages on the stock firmware give loads of options for basic home and small business use, and the setup wizards work great for people who aren't inclined to poke around the internals themselves. yes, it's a mistake, but sadly Cisco is huge enough already that it really won't hurt them, just consumers stuck with a choice between an unfamiliar brand that *might* be the same quality/hardware, or lesser-quality ones that already have name recognition in the home/SO niche. let's hope they have more foresight than most of us want to give them credit for and the only thing they are actually doing is dropping the name...

cburnham
cburnham

That's great for you, but I am the only IT person for five sites, each with routers, and about 50 computers. I don't have the time nor resources to learn Cisco's programming language. I've learned some because I had to in order to use them (and their web interface did not work), but never again will I purchase a router that doesn't have a friendly GUI. What a huge mistake. Anybody want to buy some Cisco 1721 routers?

raynebc
raynebc

Just because you have had problems with some of the most complicated firewall devices doesn't make all of Cisco's equipment crappy or difficult. I myself majored in Computer Networking and have a good working knowledge of Cisco router and switch configuration. I am not naive enough to assume that they're going to force people to use a command line interface to configure their home-brand of routers. The very fact that Cisco is THE NAME in computer networking the world over should help them make the move to corner the home market as well. I have only heard of mediocre performance from the Linksys brand myself, and I use a Netgear router for my regular surfing. If Cisco designed their own home router instead of using the old model they bought, and add a little advertising, they could easily surpass Netgear. They have the resources. Lastly, if you can't explain the difference between a home router and an enterprise router to the boss of the head of your IT department, you need to work on your skills of explaining things in lamens terms. How hard is it to say something like "the home router can support a dozen or less computers, we have hundreds of computers so we need more powerful equipment"

GreyTech
GreyTech

Well I would like a percentage of that "stupid". As Tom points out not only are they not stupid it seems pretty likely that the strength they have built up will go forward into the consumer market. That does not mean that they get everything right.I found pre- Cisco Linksys products more reliable and often more usable that current ones. That of course might just mean that in the takeover they lost some of the best engineers that they were hoping to gain from. Or it might mean that the Cisco model does not work as well for consumer products as it does for industrial ones. Time will tell whether it will work or whether it is just the opportunity to wind down the consumer side.

DownRightTired
DownRightTired

I think there will be a little challenge in that the average home user may not know who cisco is. Although Ive noticed more primetime TV ads in the past 2 years. I completely agree though, Linksys has never been real stable for me and seeing the Cisco brand would give me more confidence. Hopefully they will do more than just slap the logo on the box though and actually keep their standards up!

jedmundson
jedmundson

Look at what happened to Beachcraft. Rayteon bought them out and killed several of their most successful aircraft. As I learned in the Navy, So dumb, they couldn't pour P*** out of a boot with the directions stapled to the heel.

AbbyD
AbbyD

If Cisco plans to rename the Linksys product line with the Cisco brand name then future customers who once considered the Cisco name to represent high-grade industrial quality will not be satisfied when the product that comes out of the box is for residential use only. This will slowly degrade Cisco's reputation.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

it may be accepted if they add the new name to it, and have linksys name nearby for a couple of years, till it takes hold. Although, I do not see a benefit of them to drop the linksys branded name, at least not for now.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

Clearly, the upper echelons of Cisco are lacking anybody with knowledge of marketing consumer products. Linksys has achieved the marketer?s dream of being a well recognized and respected consumer brand. That is not easy to do. And it looks like they?re going to just flush that away to placate Cisco?s corporate ego. So what are home-level consumers who know and trust the Linksys brand likely to do? Move up to Cisco? Not likely. This may be a windfall for D-Link, Netgear, and others. Real dumb.

cburnham
cburnham

I am the IT Director for a nonprofit. Through TechSoup I purchased three Cisco 1721 routers. I was completely naive about what was entailed in setting them up. I had used LinkSys routers for years with no problems. Anybody here that has ever set up a Cisco router knows what I went through. It was a NIGHTMARE. I have already taken one offline and the other two will be following shortly. I, too, think Cisco is making a BIG mistake.

boneyfish
boneyfish

I have always had better experience with DLink, and even better with Netgear. DLink works well for a while with minimal setup for consumer. But,,, they seem to have a limit on the life of the chips used,IE, I bought 12 of them at once, and they all seemed to die after about 2 years, and all died within a six month time period. Netgear was as simple to to setup as any, and no problems for the past 3 years. No firmware updates needed. It just works. Maybe it's time Linksys got a good workover and renamed completely. Cisco may be on to something good here!

jstuhlmiller
jstuhlmiller

I agree that killing the Linksys Brand is a bad Idea I have been using Linksys since 1995 I think when Linksys made the Nics for madgetronic. Most home users have no Idea who Cisco is and will buy other brands because they do not see the Linksys on the box when they need a product. With that said Cisco makes solid equipment that is why it was a good deal for them to buy Linksys. If you have been buying Linksys all this time why would you now not buy the replacement products from Cisco when they kill the brand name? That just does not make sense.

cburnham
cburnham

I've read through a few more of these posts since I posted ("Why I dumped Cisco"), and I have determined that I would want to continue to use LinkSys routers. Despite hating the Cisco have-to-learn-a-whole-new-launguage-to-use routers, I will say that the Cisco tech support is WAY better than LinkSys tech support. I don't even bother to call LinkSys. They generally tell me to do all the stuff I've done and then say to return it. With Cisco tech support, they go a lot deeper, remote in to help, etc. So, if the same easy-to-configure LinkSys routers come with the Cisco name AND the Cisco tech support, I'll be happier. If they simply just rename them and keep the lousy LinkSys tech support, then WHY BOTHER, CISCO?

arp
arp

I will certainly not be purchasing anything else from Cisco but who should I now give my money to? I have banks of Linksys routers and I will be upgrading to the new 'draft N' routers shortly but, having always purchased the rock solid Linksys brand, which alternative companies supply reliable routers? Alan R Parsons

tad1214
tad1214

I see: Access Points/Wireless routers NIC's (Wired and Wireless, USB and PCI, etc.) Switches (small, like 4-8, maybe 16 port unmananged) Cable Routers Network Cables? I smell something new too... Maybe, an easy NAS with builtin WiFi? I'd like to see Cisco try their hand at computers/laptops/workstations. They seem to do nearly everything they try fairly good.

retro77
retro77

Now days, most Cisco gear comes with the optional Web Browser configuration interface. I know they wont require people at home to learn code. If you are using home products at work, you might want to rethink that. Typically the home products cant handle the bandwidth that a corporate environment needs. The good thing is that with your 5 sites with routers is that you only have to learn how to use them once. Its not even that hard if you devote yourself to learning it and want to learn it. If you dont want to learn it, you never will.

doug
doug

I mean this as no reflection on your skills, but with a college degree in computer networking, you really aren't qualified to install a cisco firewall. Cisco equipment are normally so hard to program and setup that you have to find a Cisco certified speciallist to set one up. Yet they're going to sell this on the consumer market? If some friend was in the market for a firewall or router, and asked me about Cisco, I would remember my own struggles with setting up access-lists and routing, and advise him that cisco equipment is too complex. Cisco equipment sells for a huge premium in the corporate market. Sure, some executives are going to accept that their cisco firewall should cost 30 times what a cisco firewall sold at Best Buy costs, but a lot of them aren't.

deanj
deanj

I purchased Linksys because I expected it to be the same quality as Cisco. Big mistake. It is the worst quality I have experienced even after various firmware upgrades. Because of my experience with various Linksys devices I wont purchase Cisco either

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b]They are already dual-branding[/b] After acquiring Linksys, the Cisco name and "bridge" logo was added to the Linksys gear. They are already dual-branding (and that is fine). Cisco is now going to completely remove the Linksys brand: [i]"...The Linksys brand will be replaced by the new and redesigned Cisco branding..."[/i] [b]The problem is the word association changes that will occur[/b] Dual branding for a while so customers don't lose track is fine, but it doesn't solve the problem of the loss of strong word association in the mind. After merging Linksys into the Cisco brand, the word "Cisco" will then simply mean "networking gear" instead of "industrial, high complexity, expensive networking gear". This is "brand dilution". Two things are going to happen: 1. People looking for "simple, reliable, high quality, inexpensive networking gear" will look at the other brands that have this connotation: NetGear, D-Link, etc. Cisco is unknown in the retail gear space. One of the existing brands could actually ascend to become dominant in this market segment if they do it well. 2. People paying high prices for the current Cisco gear will question why they are doing so since "Cisco" now only means "networking gear". These people will look at other vendors selling "industrial, high complexity, expensive networking gear" and some will switch. It is always a mistake to kill a highly successful brand and merge the product line into a different existing brand. Cisco should keep the Linksys brand (with dual-branding if they want). [b]A better option[/b] If Cisco wants to create a Cisco-branded consumer line, they should create an entirely NEW line that competes with the Linksys-branded line (they can even be mostly the same under the hood). Each Cisco device should cost 25%-50% more than the corresponding Linksys products. This keeps both brands completely intact. Customers who like the Cisco brand will buy it even though it costs more and doesn't really do anything different than what the Linksys-branded gear does. Cisco can increase market share and profitability this way. [b]Branding-Smart company: DaimlerBenz (now DaimlerChrysler)[/b] This more extreme example illustrates how this works. Daimler did not make Cisco's planned mistake. We don't see any of these vehicles. If we did, EVERYONE would be aghast (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Mercedes-Benz buyers)! ** Mercedes-Benz PT Cruiser ** Mercedes-Benz RAM truck ** Mercedes-Benz Wrangler ** Mercedes-Benz Caravan What have they done to my American car/offroad brands? :0 Run for Ford! Run for Hummer! :^0 What have they done to my expensive luxury European status brand? :0 Run for BMW! Run for Lexus! :^0 (Toyota was very smart to create the entirely separate Lexus brand). [b]The outcome is uncertain[/b] If Cisco's competitors at the high and low ends don't capitalize on the removal of Linksys, and if Cisco does a great job of drawing customers to the new brand through heavy advertising, Cisco might not lose a thing. But, I fail to see how they will gain anything either.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You replace the "Linksys" markings with "Linksys by Cisco", with the last two words in smaller type under the first one. Do this on all product and marketing materials. Several months later, make all words in the same size type. Next swap the sequence. Then reduce the size of "Linksys" for several month until you finally eliminate it. There's much less chance of blowing your brand equity.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

My linksys wrt54gs happily issues DHCP IPs to multiple VM running under my physical workstation. If I leave a vm running int the background and latter ssh into it from the host OS it connects easily. My dlink di420 (something close to that anyhow) issues DHCP IPs to multiple VM like the first example but then ?forgets? that the machine exists on the network. If I don?t login to the vm, ping the router than go back to the host OS and ping the VM then I get a a ?no route to host? error. I then have to leave a token ssh connected from host OS to VM otherwise it goes missing from the network again until the ping exercise is repeated. The result, I recognize and trust Linksys hardware. I hadn?t considered a different brand until this very article. The dlink is a barely tolerable crutch for my network for those times when I temporarily bork a firmware change on the linksys. Booooo Cisco.. Boooo.. Well, at least if you don?t keep that same market segment stocked with whatever label you stamp on the Linksys merchandise after this. Oh, maybe the price on wrt54gs will drop and I can get a second one as a backup to replace the dlink completely. (still blows my mind that the wrt sells for the same price I paid years ago) [Edit]; that all seemed to fit with the thread better before I wrote it. I think I was going for the "Linksys is recognizable and good quality hardware" angle though I wouldn't call the firmware anything but a temporary place-holder for OpenWRT or Tomato do to it's very limited feature set.

clark1
clark1

Linksys router at home for going on 4 years now without ever having to do anything more than update the firmware. What sucks is I want to get the new "N" band but I simply cannot convince my wife because the old one still works fine.

clark1
clark1

When we go to Best Buy, Radio Shack, or any other big box store. She knows that depending on my mood I will either simply tell them I dont need help, OR, I will ask them a question such as you do and wait to see if they can answer it, or just reply with some sort of BS. As for the repeated comments on intermittent internet, I have never had that issue with my linksys wrt54g router. My wife spends hours playing games on a website (she works 3rds so she is on it while I am at work) and if there is ANY problem she calls me. All I have done is updated the firmware and it runs just perfect. My kids tho dont like it when I login to the router and cut their internet off LOL

tad1214
tad1214

I had a sales man try to sell me a wireless N router yesterday for my co-workers new cable connection. Swore up and down how much faster it is than G. He couldn't answere me how I asked that it could make it faster than the 8mbps the cable absolutely pins out at, let alone 54mb vs 108mb. Not to mention the laptop only had a abg card in it. He still promised me it would be a night and day difference..... Wonder if he is payed commision eh? As for the intermittant internet, the home user will notice they have to keep reseting their router daily, the rest of the things, I agree with you. My network never came back up until I reset it.

skipngstns
skipngstns

I would suggest, that the success of this name rebranding, will depend upon us, the IT pro's. Lets face it, how many times are we hit up for free advice? Most people have no idea what the differences are between netgear, d-link, linksys/cisco. They rely on our experience and advice. I usually reccomend that with which I am most familiar with - Cisco. D-link and Netgear don't have a very large enterprise presence. I have had the same issues listed here with linksys, d-link and netgear. Other than firmware upgrades, most "problems" are when we want some feature that we have at work. Not many home users run VM's or know if they have intermittent interface connectivity. They just want a device to share their internet connection. Another influence is whatever is on sale at the mega-store. Very few average consumers are willing to wait a week to buy a better product,at the same price, online. They would prefer to run down the street and buy whatever is on sale or has the biggest rebate.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

an alternate competing line would make sense for more shelf space (look at HP/Compaq). It has worked for many in the past. I also agree that I see no real advantage for why Cisco would do this, unless it is to bring their name in the forefront for newer, more advanced home and small business networks. However, I doubt that businesses will suddenly say "oh crap, we only got Cisco routers here, they suck now that they are in the home network market". It totally depends on what is being offered, and how well the units work. Many companies have low end items for home users, and premium items for business. I do not think that this will be a downfall for business class units at all.

TechExec2
TechExec2

There is a big difference with the "Datsun" to "Nissan" change: Nissan was not a brand in the U.S. market. There was no awareness of what a "Nissan" was. I still think what Nissan did was a mistake. Datsun was a very well known brand in the U.S. and removing it was disruptive even though they were careful to dual-brand the vehicles for a few years. How much did Nissan's mistake help Toyota pull solidly ahead over time? We'll never know.

jgrnbrg
jgrnbrg

The Datsun to Nissan transition was performed in this manner; the products were labeled with both names for a couple of years until the Datsun disappeared from the nameplate completely.

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