Linksys's Life Span

5:00 AM -- First, word got out about Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) supposedly killing off the Linksys brand name. (See Name Games.) Now, news outlets and blogs are falling over themselves to point out that the story was wrong.

Except the original story wasn't entirely wrong. John Chambers has said, on multiple recent occasions, that Cisco plans to phase out the Linksys name. (Cisco PR confirms this, unless I'm misinterpreting both them and Chambers, which I'll concede is possible.)

It's just not happening now. Cisco says it's going to continue using the Linksys brand name in the near term, as worded on the corporate blog.

And Linksys tells eWeek that a unified Cisco branding strategy -- Chambers's apparent dream -- doesn't spell the end of the Linksys name.

That part, I don't buy. Scrapping the Linksys brand sounds like the right thing to do, despite arguments to the contrary.

Cisco is at the beginning of a strong push to become a consumer brand. There are many steps to that process, none of which involve putting someone else's name on retail shelves. Linksys tells eWeek it's got Christmas products ready to go with the Linksys name on them. Fine, that's probably been the plan all year. But it would be a tactical error for Cisco to keep the name alive long-term.

Yes, Linksys fans will be incensed when doomsday comes. But just like "Intel Inside," Cisco's branding campaign won't be targeting the know-it-alls who spend too much time at Fry's. Cisco has a bigger picture in mind.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:04:36 PM
re: Linksys's Life Span Yeah, I suppose we could call it the middle. I'm kind of considering it Cisco's "New" branding effort, where Phase 1 is the Human Network thing and the "middle" extends all the way to Cisco Field (c.2010).

Then again, people no longer confuse them with Sysco, so maybe this *is* the middle. (Not trying to be funny; even a couple of years ago, I'd encounter people in the Valley, not in the business obviously, who didn't know Cisco existed.)

Your husband hits you up for router sales? Do you work for a telco, or does he just want to heat the basement with CRS-1s? :)
msilbey 12/5/2012 | 3:04:37 PM
re: Linksys's Life Span "Cisco is at the beginning of a strong push to become a consumer brand."

Can't we call it the middle by now? Cisco's been trying to turn itself into a consumer brand for a few years now. Every time my husband sees a Cisco 'human network' commercial he turns to me and says, "Please buy our routers."
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