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Cisco sounds death knell for Cius tablet, blames BYOD movement

Senior Vice President of Cisco's TelePresence Technology Group OJ Winge announced that the company's Cius tablet would be killed off due to an increase in so-called "bring your own device" to work programs, but added that the company would continue to develop any-use software.

In a Friday blog post, Winge said that BYOD is quickly becoming a legitimate option as more companies are allowing employees to bring their preferred devices to work, meaning that legacy enterprise solutions are ceding ground to popular consumer electronics.

"We are facing a workplace that is no longer a physical place, but a blend of virtual and physical environments; where employees are bringing their preferences to work and BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device” to work) is the new norm; where collaboration has to happen beyond a walled garden; and any-to-any connectivity is a requirement, not a 'nice to have,'” Winge writes.

Cisco's own IBSG Horizons Study on virtualization and BYOD found that an overwhelming 95 percent of companies let workers bring in their own devices, and 36 percent of the enterprises supplied full support for the personal units. This combined with the overall stagnation of the enterprise tablet market, Cisco has apparently decided to cut its losses in the sector and will refocus its efforts on maintaining and creating software that can be used on a variety of devices rather than compete with enterprise-ready consumer products like Apple's iPad.

Although Cisco is cutting off investment in the Cius form factor and will forego any "further enhancements" to the platform, the company will continue to offer the current iteration of the tablet to select customers. The end-of-life announcement comes a little over one year after the tablet was launched in April 2011.

Cisco Cius

Cisco's Cius tablet with phone dock. | Source: Cisco

Winge notes that while Cius is effectively dead in the water, Cisco is looking to extend the reach of its Jabber messaging and WebEx web conference software to a larger number of platforms, including smartphones and tablets.

"We’re seeing tremendous interest in these software offerings. Customers see the value in how these offerings enable employees to work on their terms in the Post-PC era, while still having access to collaboration experiences," Winge said.

The executive writes that Cisco will put emphasis on "empowering individual collaboration styles" while offering products that can work on the widest variety of devices.

Apple's iPad has been leading the charge in transitioning enterprise to BYOD, and even government agencies have started to adopt the device as consumer demand spills into the workplace. The switch has been accelerated by the downfall of former enterprise giant RIM and its PlayBook tablet flop.