The PJ Tatler

The Flip cam didn't die a natural death. Cisco murdered it.

David Pogue gathers up the clues. Flip cams account for about 35% of the camcorder market. But Cisco issued the shutdown order just as they were about to release a new Flip, with an interesting new feature.

All right, fine. Cisco bit of more than it could chew. But why is it killing the Flip and not selling it?

The most plausible reason is that Cisco wants the technology in the Flip more than it wants the business. Cisco is, after all, in the videoconferencing business, and the Flip’s video quality—for its size and price—was amazing. Maybe, in fact, that was Cisco’s plan all along. Buy the beloved Flip for its technology, then shut it down and fire 550 people. …

That new Flip that the product manager showed me was astonishing. It was called FlipLive, and it added one powerful new feature to the standard Flip: live broadcasting to the Internet.

That is, when you’re in a Wi-Fi hot spot, the entire world can see what you’re filming. You can post a link to Twitter or Facebook, or send an e-mail link to friends. Anyone who clicks the link can see what you’re seeing, in real time—thousands of people at once.