Cisco keeps mum on Linksys future


Cisco keeps mum on Linksys future

Alex Scroxton

Cisco has continued to maintain its silence over the definitive future of the small business-focused side of its prosumer and small office Linksys brand after folding Linksys' SMB channel into the Cisco registered partner programme last month. This is in spite of encouraging signs that the move to integrate the two channels has gone down well.

Cisco has always declined to give a straight yes or no answer when quizzed over the future of the brand, but it is an open secret that it is considering its options.

Cisco Europe small business head Tunji Akintokun told MicroScope that Cisco would "continue to review the branding".

"As we speak today we're crystal clear that the small business brand is Linksys By Cisco, and that sits as part of the Cisco SMB portfolio," he said.

But clues that plans are advancing continue to leak out. Within the past fortnight Cisco's Australian managing director went on the record to say that the Linksys By Cisco tag would eventually become just Cisco.

One British SMB dealer who asked to remain anonymous revealed that in the past week his account manager had told him that Linksys SMB kit was getting "new part numbers and new names" as it became part of the Cisco line-up.

Opinion in the channel, which was initially sceptical over Cisco's plans, now seems to be shifting in favour of the move, with some saying that the vendor should bite the bullet and kill Linksys altogether.

"It was a great, innovative brand, but the name is dying out. People still like it, but I think they really like the reassurance of having a Cisco badge on something. Cisco shouldn't be scared of this," he said.

Meanwhile, Cisco's distribution partners are currently rolling out the Linksys small business product suite, with Gloucestershire-based Cisco house Comstor confirming that it was already chasing a number of quotes from resellers having run a promotion on Linksys kit last week.

Akintokun revealed that to date around 2,330 resellers out of Linksys' 7,000-strong EMEA channel had moved across to Cisco. He added that around 14 distributors in Europe that previously sold only Linksys had been inducted into the Cisco channel, including Surrey-based Northamber.

Meanwhile, Linksys is "preparing and investing" in a revamped consumer-focused programme, according to UK sales manager Paul McIntosh, details of which are expected imminently.

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