Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Cisco Kills Umi Videoconferencing Product

The new year is only four days old, and already another consumer product from Cisco Systems has been put out to pasture: This time, it’s the consumer videoconferencing product Umi.

Julie Bort of Business Insider got a Cisco spokesman to confirm it.

A little more than a year old, Umi was Cisco’s attempt to get consumers using their TVs for home videoconferencing. At $600, it was expensive, unwieldy, and ran up against the fundamental problem that consumers really don’t want to talk to each other from their living rooms in high definition. Also: Skype is pretty good, and it’s free, and there are other ways to videoconference without dropping big bucks.

Anyway, due credit goes to Cisco for trying. At least this time it chose to kill the product quietly, unlike the PR blowback it got when it killed its Flip videocamera last year. And Umi is not so popular a product that there will be a similar hue and cry this time around.

Also? No more awkward Cisco TV ads starring Ellen Page. Here’s one she did for the Umi:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik