Cisco has ended its ambitious project to become a key supplier of enterprise tablets with the announcement that it’s killing off its Cius tablet.
The news came via a blog post entitled “Empowering Choice in Collaboration” by OJ Winge, Senior VP and General Manager of Cisco’s Collaboration Endpoints Technology Group.
That headline about “empowering choice” was a key driver in Cisco’s decision, according to Winge who said the growth in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the enterprise made it clear corporate end users are adopting many more devices than what IT departments, Cisco's main client, would prefer they use.
Back in January, Cisco's Roberto De La Mora told TabTimes the company was making progress with the Cius, noting that over 1,100 companies purchased them with some buying thousands of units.
“We built Cius for the way enterprises want to use a tablet and it’s getting good traction in the market," said De La Mora, senior director of UC Platforms and Endpoints for Cisco's Collaboration Solutions Marketing group.
But a recent Cisco study on virtualization and BYOD shows that 95% of organizations surveyed allow employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the office, and, 36% of enterprises surveyed provide full support for employee-owned devices.
Winge also noted in his blog post the growing popularity of cloud services like Cisco’s own Jabber and WebEx that work across a wide variety of smartphones and tablets.
“Customers see the value in how these offerings enable employees to work on their terms in the Post-PC era, while still having access to collaboration experiences.
“Based on these market transitions, Cisco will no longer invest in the Cisco Cius tablet form factor, and no further enhancements will be made to the current Cius endpoint beyond what’s available today,” he added. “However, as we evaluate the market further, we will continue to offer Cius in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases.”
Analyst Roger Kay said there’s demand for tablets specifically designed for the enterprise, but so far none of the companies trying to meet that need, short of niche areas, has been able to displace Apple’s iPad.
"There is still a lot of Android fragmentation and IT is wary of those devices," said Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates.
“I don’t think there will be a credible tablet supplier other than Apple until we see the Windows 8 tablets with the Metro interface later this year," he added.