9. Cisco flip-flops on the Flip
Nobody understood why Cisco Systems bought the Flip camera company Pure Digital in 2009. And nobody really could fathom it when Cisco killed the 550-person division in 2011 and put the Flip in the ground for good.
Could the Flip have survived? Yes. Either inside Cisco or not, the Flip concept of the super-simple, one-button video camera could have worked. It was working, in fact. Sales were strong. Smartphones (especially the iPhone) were a threat to the Flip cameras, but the Flip designers were not standing still. There was still a lot of innovation left in the line when Cisco axed it, including a one-button live broadcast Flip cam. Cool! The only thing that really didn't make sense about the Flip was what it was doing inside Cisco, notwithstanding the networking giant's $590 million buyout of the company.
But the Flip idea lives on. In sandwiches. The creator of the Flip, Jonathan Kaplan, has started a chain of grilled cheese restaurants called The Melt. Ordering a sandwich from this chain is Flip-like. The product is simple and emotional. The price is on the high side of fair. And behind the scenes there's a bit of technology magic that the consumer might never see--a new combination cooker/microwave that makes a grilled/melted sandwich in a minute.
Fortunately, Kaplan has said he has no plans to sell this outfit to Cisco.
--By Rafe Needleman
November 23, 2011 12:00 AM PST
Photo by: Graphic by James Martin/CNET
| Caption by: James Martin
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