Can Cisco compete in the CE mass-market?

Cisco is an unknown brand in the CE market. But will that be a problem for it?

Cisco has won much attention from consumer news sites since the New York Times reported last Monday that the networking giant at CES this week is expected to unveil a digital stereo system that can move music wirelessly around a house, among other consumer offerings. But analysts and pundits say there are hurdles that Cisco must overcome in a market where Cisco is an unknown brand. Pundits also point to similar offerings from Sonos, Logitech and Apple.

Jonathan Greene writing in eHomeUpgrade says he's puzzled as to "why Cisco is not simply focusing on enabling the connectivity and distribution piece on the network rather than going for the end-point." He adds that he'd rather see "something neutral that provides access to content (and not just music btw) where I want it - whether that's in my house or pushed out to my mobile device." Greene also points out that Cisco will need to gain access from the very closed Apple iTunes ecosystem to make this a useful device. "So far, the standard fault of every media streamer is that it can't play iTunes DRM ... I don't see how Cisco's solution solves any of this," Greene writes.

Paul Sweeting, writing in DigitalMediaWire, points to a snippet in the Times article that Cisco is looking to develop a way for consumers to store music and video on the Web and access anywhere. Sweeting notes that Cablevision Systems' network-DVR attempted something similar but programmers tried to kill the technology by suing the developer.

Directions on Microsoft Analyst Matt Rosoff points out that enabling multiroom audio is more complex than "just a few simple tweaks to [Cisco's] existing home networking products," and that Cisco must successfully hide that complexity from users. He adds: "If it manages to hire some great UI designers and brands these products appropriately -- coming up with names that are more interesting than these would be a start -- it has a fighting chance."

Om Malik, meanwhile, believes Cisco "would need to rewire its entire DNA" to compete with the big consumer brands Samsung, Sony and Apple, but adds that Cisco "ain't got the skills." Read more about Malik's comments here.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ciscoconsumer electronics

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Cisco Subnet

Network World
Show Comments


Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >



Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >


Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?