It seems like just yesterday. I asked a Linksys rep during a pre-CES 2013 meeting about reports of Cisco selling off the company. I was told it was mere rumor -- that no such sale was in the works. Now months later, networking giant Belkin has completed its acquisition of the former networking rival. Guess it wasn't rumor after all.
As of Friday, Linksys’ technologies, including its routers and the popular Smart Wi-Fi portfolio and services, will be managed and maintained as a separate brand and product portfolio by Belkin. Support for Linksys products will remain available through the existing Linksys support channels.
"For service, Linksys customers should go to the support page on the Linksys website. All valid warranties will be honored for current and future Linksys products," Belkin said on Friday.
Reports of Cisco looking to sell Linksys emerged back in December 2012. Unnamed sources said that Cisco was looking to expand its corporate software and technology services. Its trek into the consumer technology frontier backfired, sources said, caused by a slowdown in sales growth. Thus, Cisco eliminated 7,800 jobs and began closing consumer-based businesses such as the Flip video camera unit.
Even in December, sources said that Belkin was hovering, looking to grab the Linksys networking unit from Cisco. But at the time Leah Polk, Senior Global Public Relations Manager of Belkin International, said that it was merely a rumor and there was no official statement to make.
But then in January shortly after CES 2013, Belkin said that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Cisco's Home Networking Business Unit – which included the Irvine, Calif.-based Linksys – for an undisclosed sum. Once the transition closed, Belkin would account for around 30-percent of the U.S. retail home and small business networking market.
“Linksys has a rich heritage, a passionate customer base and a wide product line, all of which fueled our decision to acquire the company and our plan to maintain the Linksys brand,” said Chet Pipkin, CEO of Belkin. “The Linksys portfolio will continue to exist and evolve to include even richer user experiences and network management functionality. Smart Wi-Fi is an innovative and easy way for consumers to stay connected to their home network and we look to continue investing in it by adding more features and products."
New Linksys products will be introduced in the near future, starting with several announcements that are planned to be made around spring. That said, it will definitely be interesting to see how Belkin will manage two lines of networking equipment.
"Linksys and Belkin are now one team. We are ready to do fantastic things as a team and deliver products that delight consumers and support the increasingly connected, mobile world," Pipkin added.