Cisco's Linksys phase-out moving along

Cisco's Linksys brand may disappear sooner than expected, according to a top Cisco executive.

Cisco Systems' Linksys brand may disappear sooner than expected, according to a top executive for small business at the company, although he wouldn't say how quickly.

The company sells networking gear for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) under both the Cisco and Linksys brands, which has created some confusion, vice president of SMB Solutions Marketing Rick Moran acknowledged in an interview on Monday. Linksys was a successful vendor of home and SMB networking gear that Cisco acquired in 2003. There are routers, wireless LANs and other products under both brands that are aimed at small enterprises.

Chairman and CEO John Chambers said at the Networkers event in Anaheim, California, captured in a YouTube video, that Linksys would disappear under the Cisco brand over time. Linksys followed up by saying its brand wasn't going anywhere in the near term.

Cisco had already moved to allow its SMB channel partners to sell both Cisco and Linksys products, starting about a year ago, but in the process found out most of them didn't want to carry both, Moran said. Those that sold Cisco gear weren't interested in selling the simpler Linksys products because they wanted to sell their customers system integration services, and Linksys resellers were more geared toward selling individual products, he said.

Now Cisco is working to clear up the confusion by modifying its SMB Web site and having Cisco and Linksys product teams work more closely together, Moran said. Their product road maps are now aligned, he said. But there will still be an evolution toward one brand.

"It will be shorter than you think," Moran said. The evolution is likely to happen first outside the U.S., where Linksys products are sold but Cisco hasn't spent any money building up that brand, he added.

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