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Summary:

Cisco Systems, apparently is facing a dilemma: whether to lose to the Linksys brand name or not? Cisco bought Linksys a couple of years ago for $500 million, and it has been a good addition to the portfolio, expanding Cisco’s reach into consumer, SOHO and small […]

linksyslogo.gifCisco Systems, apparently is facing a dilemma: whether to lose to the Linksys brand name or not? Cisco bought Linksys a couple of years ago for $500 million, and it has been a good addition to the portfolio, expanding Cisco’s reach into consumer, SOHO and small and medium sized business markets. (Read: Cisco’s born again consumerism.)

CEO John Chambers has expressed his wishes many times to phase out Linksys brand, and just consolidate everything under the Cisco moniker. He reiterated the same in Europe last week. (See video on YouTube via UberPulse.)On the corporate blog, the company is saying the two brands can co-exist.

We can make jokes about CEO being the last one to know, but we won’t. Our friends at Light Reading think that Cisco should shank the Linksys name. eWeek thinks they will be shooting themselves in the foot.

linksysrouter.jpgI am with eWeek: who goes to BestBuy and asks for a Cisco-branded access point. Of course, some of us who follow the networking business too closely are likely to wonder: how much is Cisco overcharging me for this piece of plastic and silicon?

What do you think Cisco should do with the Linksys brand? Keep it or kill it?

  1. I think they should definately keep the “Linksys” brand name. When I think “Cisco”, I think industrial, commercial, big-business applications – and they’ve trained consumers and especially other businesses to think that. Linksys has become one of the most trusted brands in home networking.

    I think it’s important for Cisco to keep at least an arm’s length away from the consumer market in order to maintain their more business-centric nature. Keeping the two separate brands will allow that.

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  2. I think they’ve got to kill it. Several years ago, Linksys was a brand worth buying (and there weren’t too many other choices), but after they started losing business to lower-priced competitors, their product quality started to drop quickly, IMHO. Last time I went shopping for network equipment, I didn’t even consider Linksys because I had quality issues with prior products.

    I think rebranding as Cisco and making a slightly more quality product will be worth it for them.

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  3. Cisco’s desire to kill the Linksys brand emerges from its history of acquiring companies for their products or sales forces and very quickly “Ciscoing” the line.

    Linksys and Scientific Atlanta are the two notable exceptions to this rule.

    As Steven Vaughan-Nichols points out in eWeek, Cisco’s murmurings about doing away with the Linksys brand are emerging from a desire to build Cisco’s equity as a SMB and eventually a consumer brand.

    Rather than putting itself in an “Either/Or” situation, Cisco needs to figure out a way of using the obvious equity of the Linksys product line as a way of supporting the Cisco masterbrand. They need to do the same thing with Scientific Atlanta. Slapping “A Cisco Company” under the logo just wont do it.

    Too many companies are killing off powerful product brands out of a frustration with how to reconcile them with their company brand. Unless Cisco realizes that its tried and true formula for incorporating brands wont work in these new markets, their chances expanding the relevance of their brand will never succeed.

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  4. Keep it until it is clear that linking them will help Cisco’s enterprise products, or until the consumer product line needs help from the core Cisco brand.

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  5. keep it Linksys. people are used to it and it sounds much more consumer friendly.

    Just saw the clip, i’ve always thought Chambers was one of the best speakers out there, he’s very smooth. So glad he preaches about drinking the internet kool aid and not the grape flavored Jonestown kool aid.

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  6. Keep it. I’m unlikely to ever think Cisco for a home networking device. Unless that is what they want people to start thinking.

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  7. Linksys and Cisco serve such different markets, I wouldn’t rebrand. I don’t see any advantage to the hme networking business having the Cisco brand.
    Also are they going to keep the low margin Linksys Enterprise products allowing them to encroach on traditional high margin Cisco product or simply withdraw the product line?

    Strange move..

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  8. Dump the Linksys brand. I’ve thought this myself for a while. Why?

    1) If the consumer is savvy enough to know the difference between Linksys and any other router brand, chances are they also know Linksys = Cisco.

    2) If the consumer is not savvy enough, well, there is no clear “branding leader” in the router space… it’s merely a utility. Cisco would be very wise to start a branding strategy this way; your average person once didn’t know what Intel was either!

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  9. I think just keep the brand. Consumer brand takes time to build. Marketing dollar will be spent solely for the purpose of rebranding. I just think they could have used the money in a better way.

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  10. Black & Decker…when B&D tried to leverage its brand across two distinct markets – professional (Cisco) and consumer (Linksys) the professional crowed fled. Perhaps Mr. Chambers may want to read the case taught in business schools as a reminder.

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