Cisco blunder: ūmi dead in the consumer market

The news was first broken and speculated by Larry Chaffin at Networld World when Chaffin spoke to a friend about the Cisco UMI fire sales at Best Buy and noticed discontinued support for the UMI from the Cisco telephone support.

Cisco Umi Logo
Cisco Umi Logo. Trademark of Cisco.

Yesterday, Cisco spokesperson told CRN officially that Cisco has began withdrawing the UMI from the consumer market since December, and has ceased any new sells for any UMI units.

The Cisco ūmi received much criticism since its first release due to its price and value. First released in October 2010, perceived as a high-end HD Telepresence kit in the consumer space, the unit costs $600 for just the unit (a camera unit without display), and a controller; and in addition, a $24.99/month subscription on top of it. If you ask me, that’s some hefty price to pay to just chat to your friends face-to-face. Not only that, Cisco ūmi only worked with other Cisco ūmi units (Cisco has since release ūmi clients for PCs). While that seems like a smart move to make everyone buy the ūmi, Cisco probably didn’t take into consideration that the average consumers don’t need or want a $600 HD tele-presence unit, which they can do via the much popular and cheaper alternative — Skype.

Although sales of the ūmi has ceased in the consumer space, according to Cisco, they plan to integrate the ūmi into their enterprise unified communications unit. Now, that seems a much smarter move, where such cost and value can be justified much better and in a market where Cisco’s brand is much stronger.

At the time of this writing, no new ūmi units are produced for the consumer market for sale. However, current ūmi owners can still continue their subscription service.

PitaByte is a guest blogger on the Myriad Supply blogs. He blogs just about everything, mostly technology related.