Cisco's consumer business chief resigns

Jonathan Kaplan is resigning two years after joining as part of the Flip camera acquisition

The head of Cisco Systems' consumer products business is leaving the company less than two years after he arrived with the acquisition of Flip camcorder maker Pure Digital Technologies.

Jonathan Kaplan was chairman and CEO of Pure Digital when Cisco bought the startup in March 2009 for US$590 million in stock. He became senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Consumer Products, which encompasses the company's Linksys home networking products in addition to the Flip camcorders. Cisco also has a consumer version of its TelePresence high-quality videoconferencing system, called Umi.

Kaplan is now moving on, "to pursue other career opportunities," according to a post that appeared Thursday on an official Cisco blog. The Consumer Business Group will now report to Marthin De Beer, who also heads Cisco's TelePresence high-quality videoconferencing unit and its Emerging Technologies business, which looks for new markets for Cisco to enter. Putting De Beer in charge will help to consolidate consumer business organizations, Cisco said.

At the time of its acquisition, Pure Digital was a fast-growing company that had popularized a new type of device, a small camcorder designed to make it easy to shoot, upload and edit videos and then post them to websites such as YouTube. Cisco has promoted the device as a tool for business users to record video messages, in addition to its consumer messages, and has said personal-care giant Procter & Gamble uses it.

Though the Flip was a departure for Cisco, as an inexpensive, cutting-edge consumer product, it did fit in with the company's focus on video products. Like TelePresence and Cisco's Videoscape architecture, which was announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show last month, the Flip has the potential to drive a lot of video onto IP (Internet Protocol) networks, which could boost demand for Cisco's traditional routers and switches.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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