More on the Flip’s Demise

The New York Times’ David Pogue has a good article on the Flip’s demise that thoughtfully contradicts my earlier hypothesis that video functionality in smartphones would kill the Flip.

But most of the world doesn’t buy iPhones. Of the 1 billion cellphones sold annually, a few million are iPhones. The masses still have regular cellphones that don’t capture video, let alone hi-def video. They’re the people who buy Flip camcorders. It’s wayyyyyy too soon for app phones to have killed off the camcorder.

True, but don’t you imagine people very quickly deciding to put the $200 they might have spent on a Flip towards a better phone? I mean, who wouldn’t rather put their $200 into a better phone than a unitasker, unless they really do a lot of on-the-fly video?

Second, it isn’t true at all that nobody’s buying Flip camcorders. So far, 7 million people have bought them. Only a month ago, I was briefed by a Flip product manager on the newest model, which was to hit the market yesterday. He showed me a graph of the Flip’s sales; Flips now represent an astonishing 35 percent of the camcorder market. They’re the No. 1 bestselling camcorder on Amazon. They’re still selling fast.

Good points, and I agree that this was probably a premature death, although I still think that death was inevitable given a bit more time. Hopefully one of Flip’s competitors can step up with their products and fill the hole left by Cisco’s bumbling. I feel most sorry for the 550 people who lost jobs because of Cisco’s mistake. It’s tough to work on an exciting product and have it get killed; having that happen to a well-liked product like the Flip must be particularly galling.