Linksys brand given stay of execution

Linksys brand given stay of execution

Cisco will retain the Linksys brand for consumer and SME products “in the near term”, according to a statement released by the company’s Sydney office, after global CEO John Chambers said Linksys branding will be phased out in favour of the Cisco name.

At a media event in Europe late last month, Chambers said Cisco had kept the Linksys brand after the acquisition in mid 2003 because it was better known among US consumers. Linksys has since been run as a subsidiary of Cisco.

Reseller News sought comment on Chambers’ statement from Cisco locally, but was referred to Sydney-based Australia/New Zealand country manager Graeme Reardon. However, an ANZ spokesperson said Reardon was unavailable for comment, but issued a statement saying the branding strategy would continue to be evaluated.

“Linksys consumer and SME products will continue to be marketed under the Linksys brand and co-exist in the market with Cisco branded connected home products over the near term.

“We will continue to examine our branding strategy going forward (as we have to date) and make changes if and when these changes add value to our customers’ decision-making processes and our channel partners,” the statement says.

Chambers’ comments follow the international rollout from June of the remodelled Linksys Partner Connection programme, designed to move the brands closer together.

At the time, Reardon said this would make it easier for Cisco-registered partners to sell both brands, as well as for Linksys partners to sell Cisco products.

Cisco has recently formed an SME market division and increasingly moved into Linksys’ traditional small and medium business products territory, evidenced most recently by the introduction of the Smart Business Communication System designed for these companies. It was launched locally at the Ingram Micro showcase last month.

Christchurch-based networking and security company The Total Team, which partners with both Cisco and Linksys, says it has noticed increasing parallels in the products of the two brands.

“They’ve been starting to compete in the same space,” says director Ian Burgess. “Recently in New Zealand Cisco has really embraced the SME with special pricing and that’s been really good.”

Burgess says his company selects products most appropriate for the customer. “We’ve never been hot on choosing based on the brand, but on the product set that’s best for the market we’re looking at.”

Director of another Linksys partner, JCom’s Jim Carroll, believes Linksys is the stronger brand, but wouldn’t be concerned about the phase out as long as vendor support was available.

He says in the firm’s home town – Invercargill – customers prefer Linksys because prices are lower, and because Cisco is more suited to corporates with more than one office.

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