Cisco hits ‘mute’ on Skype killer Umi

4 Jan 2012

Cisco’s grand plan to bring videoconferencing into the living room has been put on ice – indefinitely. It has emerged that the communications giant has shelved the project.

Cisco is understood to have ceased selling the product, according to reports.

The Umi technology promised 1080p high definition video conferencing from the living room.

However, it is hard to envisage how equipment that cost US$600 and US$10 a month thereafter could compete with technologies like Kinect for Xbox 360 consoles, as well as every day wireless devices like laptops, tablet computers and smartphones with built-in cameras and free services like Skype.

The decision could be viewed as a win for Microsoft, which is driving hard with its unified communications strategy and which acquired Skype back in May last year for US$8.5bn.

It is understood Cisco will continue to serve existing Umi customers but won’t be actively selling the technology.

Last year, Cisco shuttered its Flip video camera business.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years