End of an Eos

4:30 PM -- I was talking to someone Monday afternoon about the potential for Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to spin off Eos.

Tuesday, Cisco went into closet-cleaning mode on its consumer division, and Eos's fate is up in the air. (See Cisco Flips on Consumer Business.)

I still think it might work as a standalone business, albeit one that's not yet profitable, but I don't know if Cisco has the patience or motivation to try that.

One thing's for sure -- Dan Scheinman, the executive who created and championed Eos, has resigned, as he noted on Twitter Tuesday morning. "Eos succeeded technically, but economically, we were still two years off," he wrote.

Like Pure Digital Technologies (creator of the Flip cameras), Eos seemed like a reach for Cisco. But it never bothered me the way Flip did, because Eos wasn't in an overcrowded market. Moreover, Eos was based on a core idea that's still valid: Media companies need a more effective way to go online with the mountains of content and data they're sitting on. (See Cisco's Eos Takes Aim at Internet Media Management and Cisco's Eos Reaches for Telcos.)

But I'm not the one paying the bills. Eos isn't cheap, partly because it's a hosted service. Cisco couldn't just throw down a bunch of tools for media companies to use -- that's been done, probably dozens of times over. The whole point was to be Web 2.0 hipsters for hire, helping companies figure out why they should create social websites and how to do so effectively.

Maybe I just like Eos because it feels like pure research, an attempt at dabbling in an area that seemed promising but wasn't fully defined.

It's hard to justify that Cisco should be the one doing that research, though. Some element of Eos will have to survive -- Devo's website depends on it! -- but as a Cisco property, I don't think Eos has much of a chance.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

upand2theright 12/5/2012 | 5:07:38 PM
re: End of an Eos

Creating a 'Wordpress platform for Kardashians' is an interesting idea but it was never going to be a billion-dollar business for Cisco.  At least Flip made $300M+


Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:07:37 PM
re: End of an Eos

I don't deny that (although I like to think of it more as 'Facebook for NHL fans.')  Not a huge business, just a very interesting one. Even if it had become profitable, Eos would be getting questioned right about now.

Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 5:07:34 PM
re: End of an Eos

As somebody there at the genesis of EOS, yes, it will be sad to see it go (if in fact it does go), but I think this is yet another example of Cisco's lack of focus. This is a software content-management platform for media companies -- do you have to ask is this really a core market for Cisco?

The other big battle Cisco is fighting is that a lot of the things they are going into (Telepresence, Web video conferencing, Web content) is the realm of the free or the near free. How do you suggest competing with Skype?

upand2theright 12/5/2012 | 5:07:28 PM
re: End of an Eos

Teeing up Skype as the free or 'nearly free' boogieman will be interesting to watch. However, I believe there will be free and paid video conference services from both Skype and Cisco.   

The more important challenge for Cisco will be getting a soft telepresence client (or Webex client) on every mobile device.   Look at Amazon's Kindle.   There are more Kindle readers on Apple devices today than on Kindle devices.  

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