Cisco details Linksys channel strategy

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Cisco details Linksys channel strategy

Simon Quicke

Cisco has unveiled a small business division and products aimed specifically at companies with less than 250 users as it integrates the Linksys channel into its mainstream business.

The vendor announced last month that it was merging Linksys products into its Cisco line and is launching products badged as either Cisco Small Business or Small Business Pro from next month.

Andrew Sage, vice president, worldwide small business sales at Cisco, said that it expected companies at the top end of the SME market to be served by its traditional certified partners and those at the bottom by retail but identified a middle group that resellers could target.

"The products have to be purposed built and right and there has to be warranty support and the buying has to be simple and web enabled," he said.

Sage added that the establishment of the Small Business Technology Group, which is being backed by $100m and covers companies in both the 100 and up to 250 user brackets, indicated the high expectations the vendor had from the SME market.

Rick Moran, vice president of small business solutions marketing at Cisco, said that it had dubbed the top end of the SME market the elites, sold to by certified partners, the bottom end basics but the middle area as "open to guidance" and it would be encouraging resellers to target those customers.

"These people understand that technology can help them but they are not sure where to start," he said.

But Sage added that it would not put any particular emphasis on one route to market and would be supporting certified partners, mainstream two tier resellers as well as etailers and retailers.

Last month the announcement was made that Linksys as a brand was being fazed out and most of its products would now be handled by the Cisco Consumer Business Group.

The first wave of products to be released under the small business and small business pro range include a network attached storage device to be sold through retail, office security surveillance and wireless phones.


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