Cisco also plans to keep a hand in the Linksys products, possibly making them work closely with its set-top boxes and, in turn, with service providers' networks. In the press release announcing the sale, Belkin said the two companies would develop a strategic relationship in several areas, one being products for the service-provider market. Belkin would have access to specialized Cisco software across all its product lines to create "a more seamless user experience for customers," the release said.
Cisco might get back into making consumer products and selling them at retail some day, ZK's Kerravala said. But if it did, the effort would probably look quite different the next time around.
"It's a more difficult challenge than I think they had realized at the time," Kerravala said.