Tablet Losers: "Yeah, This Was a Bad Idea"

That didn't last long. Just weeks ago, Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) shuttered its misguided attempt to get into the tablet market. The networking giant's Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android tablet saw a swift death at the hands of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPad, largely a victim of the consumerization of IT that everyone's been talking about in recent times.

Almost as quickly as the experiment started, albeit with numerous delays, it ended.

Cisco Cius. Source: Cisco.

Cisco Cius. Source: Cisco.

At the recent CiscoLive! conference this past week, CEO John Chambers conceded that the company should have killed the offering nine months earlier than it did: "Once you realize you're not going to reach the volumes you need, you should just stop. We should have made our decision to exit the Cius market nine months ago." After seeing the nearly unstoppable momentum that the iPad was gaining, especially within the enterprise, Cisco should have pulled the Cius plug much earlier. Cisco says 63% of enterprise tablets are iPads.

For those keeping track at home, nine months ago would have meant axing the doomed tablet back in September 2011, only three months after it launched in July after being delayed by more than a year. Translation: We should have pulled an HP.

Now that's something you don't see every day -- a tech stalwart wanting to be more like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) at a time when the iconic PC maker was the butt of many a joke. Of course, HP is the one that decided to axe its TouchPad after literally a month and a half, in what has become one of the shortest product lifespans in the history of consumer electronics. Yet here we are seeing Chambers wanting to take a page out of HP's playbook.

On the other hand, Cisco also didn't plunge $1.2 billion into an acquisition that was pretty clearly the worst deal ever in pursuit of its tablet strategy.

The life of a wannabe iPad-killer isn't quite as glamorous as most hope. Farewell, Cius. We hardly knew ye.

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Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Cisco Systems, Apple, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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