Cisco has a history of rather schizophrenic behavior toward the SMB market. In 2003, Cisco acquired Linksys, which manufactured network gear for SMBs. In January of this
year, they sold the unit off to Belkin.

Cisco’s on-again-off-again relationship with SMBs continues this month as they have declared End-of-Sale, End-of-Life and End-of-Support for their UC540UC560 and BE3000 voice platforms. The UC540 supported up to 32 phones, the UC560 up to 138 phones while the Business Edition 3000 supported up to 300 users and 10 sites.

Cisco is dropping these products like a hot potato, with phone support for the UC540 and UC560 ending in January 2015! Wow! The EOL announcements appear to cover all products in each product line. According to the Cisco EOL release, the recommended migration path from all three platforms is the BE6000, their “entry-level” 1000-line system. Clearly, this is not an affordable option for many current SMB customers. And how long will it be before the BE6000 product line is EOL’d?

So, once again, what many believe to be the “safe choice” turns out to be anything but. If you are a telephone system buyer for a small to medium-sized business, beware of companies that seem to be unable to commit to the SMB market. They can discontinue your product line at any time. The result for your business could be disastrous.

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