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Cisco kills its Apple competitors Flip, Eos, Umi to focus on networking

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
Cisco announced plans get out of the consumer business apart from its Linksys networking products, killing its Flip handheld camcorders, Eos social media platform and Umi consumer video conferencing device.

Cisco kills Flip, writes off $590 million

Cisco paid $590 million for Flip maker Pure Digital just two years ago, but the popular, easy to use digital camcorders were effectively squeezed out of a market by smartphones with good enough video recording skills on the low end, and point and shoot cameras with superior video recording.

Just after Cisco bought Flip, Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled the iPod nano with its built in video camera, and noted that while a 4GB Flip costs $149, the new 8GB nano would sell for the same price and include a "free" video camera with its iPod functions in a much smaller package.



Cisco responded with a tweet saying it was flattered by Apple's imitation.

Last year's iPhone 4 subsequently boosted its video capture quality dramatically, while adding still camera shots that Flip cameras are not designed to capture. The iPhone, and similar smartphones, also make it easy to share pictures and videos instantly via MMS, FaceBook or email.

As part of a restructuring to focus on its core networking business, Cisco announced it would shutter its Flip business and lay off 550 employees.

Looking for ways to recycle Eos, Umi

The company will also be "reevaluating" how it can make use of Eos, an internally developed social network service platform oriented to help media and entertainment companies to build an audience (independently of iTunes).

A third Cisco product, Umi telepresence, originally aimed at bringing an alternative to Apple's iChat video to consumers. The device cost about $500 and connected to the user's television. It will now, like Eos, be folded into the company's business plans. Apple has focused on video chat both in iChat for desktop systems, as well as its new FaceTime feature released with iPhone 4 and subsequently expanded to the iPod touch, iPad 2, and Mac.



Cisco's restructuring didn't mention Cius, the company's 7 inch iPad-like Android-based tablet aimed at video conferencing and business users, but the pre-Honeycomb device hasn't seen much attention since its initial announcement.



We are making key, targeted moves as we align operations in support of our network-centric platform strategy, said John Chambers, Cisco chairman and CEO. As we move forward, our consumer efforts will focus on how we help our enterprise and service provider customers optimize and expand their offerings for consumers, and help ensure the networks ability to deliver on those offerings.
post #2 of 44
The carnage that M$ and others (here, Cisco) render unto their bottom lines in pursuit of the general and gaming consumer is simply staggering. I wonder when shareholders and the investment glitterati are going to get upset. Its really surprising to just drop $590M, but I reckon they are trying not to throw good money after bad.

Oh, well...
post #3 of 44
It really irks me when ads show video calling with people looking at each other, it is so not possible with the camera positioning.

..let alone the pasted in photo pretending to show call quality.

Some American needs to class action false advertising across all video call providers.
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post #4 of 44
In few years no one will buy Point & Shoot cameras. There will be phone cameras & DSLRs. When I had my iPhone 3G I was looking at cameras with location geotagging because I love this feature in iPhoto 09 and how it organizes my photo. The cheapest one that work (sometimes) was at least $300. I decided no way. I will keep using my iPhone 3G even if the camera wasn't as good. Now with improved phone camera quality, and I don't mean in term of MP, I don't see any reason to bother with a dedicated camera that isn't a DSLR.
post #5 of 44
Apple doesn't make a video camera.

Apple doesn't make a video conferencing device.

Apple doesn't make a social network.

Remind us all again what this has to do with Apple?
post #6 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

It really irks me when ads show video calling with people looking at each other, it is so not possible with the camera positioning.

..let alone the pasted in photo pretending to show call quality.

Some American needs to class action false advertising across all video call providers.

Speaking re. the Apple ads, I would assume that the company would be smart enough to not pass off 'simulated' images as the real thing.
post #7 of 44
Cisco probably bought Pure Digital (of Flip) and Linksys to gain better understanding of B2C market, but B2C just isn't in Cisco's genetics (at least under John Chamber).

Cisco launching umi at $599 and $24.95/month subscription highlights just how out of touch the company is with consumers (it releasing cheaper product last month at $399 and $8.25/month demonstrates it hasn't learned a bit).

And I am not sure if Cisco should try to expand into B2C. Juniper and others have taken a substantial share of Cisco's core business (e.g., router) and it is questionable as to whether video conferencing is a field that will remain high-end.
post #8 of 44
Disappointed in seeing Cisco abandon the Flip. The video quality is amazing. They just needed to get with the social aspect of the device in order to make it more appealing. Not everone owns or needs a smart phone. Flip is an awesome video recorder...thats all it needed to be.
post #9 of 44
Staggering carnage inflicted by Apple on some really big name companies. They all stared at the ceiling when Apple went after the various markets they controlled by inventing new markets and new products, or reinventing failed products others had attempted. Once the Apple juggernaut started rolling they all looked like deer in the headlights and began flailing about to play the copy/catch game. The iPod, iPhone, and now the iPad have turned a lot of the paradigms upside down. Cisco thought it could buy its way into the consumer market with Flip but the iPod and the iPhone put a bullet in its temple. From Nokia to RIM, from Cisco to Nintendo they have all felt the Apple Effect and it ain't a pretty sight. Who would have thought this would happen when Jobs came back? Not me, for one.
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Staggering carnage inflicted by Apple on some really big name companies. They all stared at the ceiling when Apple went after the various markets they controlled by inventing new markets and new products, or reinventing failed products others had attempted. Once the Apple juggernaut started rolling they all looked like deer in the headlights and began flailing about to play the copy/catch game. The iPod, iPhone, and now the iPad have turned a lot of the paradigms upside down. Cisco thought it could buy its way into the consumer market with Flip but the iPod and the iPhone put a bullet in its temple. From Nokia to RIM, from Cisco to Nintendo they have all felt the Apple Effect and it ain't a pretty sight. Who would have thought this would happen when Jobs came back? Not me, for one.

What a great post. The Apple Effect. You could add: the entire music industry, the entire mobile telecom industry, the entire netbooks industry, and soon, the entire tv and movie industries.
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Apple doesn't make a video camera.

The iPod Touch, the iPhone, the iPad

Quote:
Apple doesn't make a video conferencing device.

The iPhone, iPod,the iPad and now Mac w/Facetime

Quote:
Apple doesn't make a social network.

iTunes

Quote:
Remind us all again what this has to do with Apple?

Just did.
post #12 of 44
Great, now maybe it can focus on improving its terrible customer service.
post #13 of 44
Other cell phone makers had cameras before the iPhone and iPod Touch. It's not just Apple products that made Cisco change its mind.

It is a bit sad that companies just drop manufacturing good products because they aren't earning the gigantic profits that they want. Flip video cameras are a great product and the company is viable as it is. It doesn't need to be closed down just because some CEO who made a bad decision feels the need to make another bad decision.

I don't own a cell phone and might not ever own one. I like my Flip camera from the second generation. It could be improved and made more desirable. It could be thinner and lighter with more features. IPods and iPhones don't have zoom controls or microphone inputs. They don't have tripod mounting points. Small dedicated video cameras are great tools.

Cisco should consider the real competition of the Flip video cameras as higher end dedicated video recorders made by Sony and Panasonic, not the smart phone people. Flip cameras with more features would take away market share from the higher end cameras. Their business would have plenty of room to grow if they would continue innovation in the inexpensive video camera market.

They could add cheaper flash memory, better lenses, greater resolution, more connectivity options, and better software. I hope somebody buys the Flip Video company instead of Cisco just dumping it. Perhaps this announcement will bring interested parties to Cisco who will offer to buy it. That would be more profitable than just closing the business. Any child would tell you that getting some money for something is better than getting no money for something and throwing it away. The Cisco CEO needs to be fired pronto.
post #14 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

In few years no one will buy Point & Shoot cameras. There will be phone cameras & DSLRs. When I had my iPhone 3G I was looking at cameras with location geotagging because I love this feature in iPhoto 09 and how it organizes my photo. The cheapest one that work (sometimes) was at least $300. I decided no way. I will keep using my iPhone 3G even if the camera wasn't as good. Now with improved phone camera quality, and I don't mean in term of MP, I don't see any reason to bother with a dedicated camera that isn't a DSLR.

I went through exactly the same process. What I ended of doing was buying an Eye-Fi card for my existing point-and-shoot under the impression that geotagging was included. Then I got my iPhone 4 and found the video and pics as good or better as those on my Canon point-and-shoot. Now the Canon and it's card gather dust. Just got back from two weeks in Colombia South America where I shot everything on the 4. Beautiful. Doubt I'll ever buy a digital SLR as I'm just not into all that the settings and photography geekery. My old analog SLR has been in the closet for a decade or more.
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post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Apple doesn't make a video camera.

Apple doesn't make a standalone video camera.
There, fixed that for you.

Quote:
Apple doesn't make a video conferencing device.

Apple doesn't make a standalone video conferencing device.
There fixed that for you.

Quote:
Apple doesn't make a social network.

Beyond fixing. How about ping?
Okay, let's try:
Apple doesn't make a hugely successful social network. :-)

Quote:
Remind us all again what this has to do with Apple?

It's reminding us how Apple is kicking everyone else's butt :-)
post #16 of 44
Wow, I assumed Flip was getting hammered by smart phones, but this is pretty significant in Cisco deciding to kill it!
post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Remind us all again what this has to do with Apple?

iOS killed all three because the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad 2 (along with other similar devices) supplanted them?

Pretty obvious linkage to me...
post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

Other cell phone makers had cameras before the iPhone and iPod Touch. It's not just Apple products that made Cisco change its mind.

I disagree. I think it is exactly Apple products that made Cisco change it's mind. The iPhone 4 was the highest quality sensor and the most widely deployed (yes, there was some obscure Nokia model that had a better sensor, but it didn't go anywhere sales wise so it basically doesn't exist). Couple that with Apple's ecosystem that made using and sharing video and photo's easy enough for mere mortals, and that was more than enough to topple the likes of Flip.

Sure, other phones and devices had similar features, but none had the right mix of features to actually supplant sales of devices like the Flip camcorders. I know my local Costco had stacks and stacks of them left over after Christmas this year - and 80% of that was easily attributable to the iPhone 4.
post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dualie View Post

Great, now maybe it can focus on improving its terrible customer service.

Not a chance.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Not a chance.

Hehe... would be counter culture for them.

Found one of these in a storeroom I was helping clean out a few years back. We plugged it in and it fired right up. Thing was built like a tank. The fan in it was ruffling papers on a desk 20 feet away on the other side of the room! I wonder what happened to it - probably lost in the surplus property system somewhere...
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

In few years no one will buy Point & Shoot cameras. There will be phone cameras & DSLRs. When I had my iPhone 3G I was looking at cameras with location geotagging because I love this feature in iPhoto 09 and how it organizes my photo. The cheapest one that work (sometimes) was at least $300. I decided no way. I will keep using my iPhone 3G even if the camera wasn't as good. Now with improved phone camera quality, and I don't mean in term of MP, I don't see any reason to bother with a dedicated camera that isn't a DSLR.

I seriously doubt that point and shoot cameras will fade away. I personally own a DSLR, a point and shoot and an iPhone and can say that in most cases the point and shoot is the best choice overall. While my DSLR takes the best pictures in every situation it is not nearly as easy to set-up or portable enough to carry around all the time. I agree that in a pinch a cellphone camera is better than none at all and I always have it with me, but there are many situations where the photo quality is barely acceptable. I know that they are getting better all the time but the major problem with cell phone cameras is not the megapixel factor, which is only one important factor to get decent pictures, but that the lens itself is not large enough to let in enough light in most cases (e.g. sunset, outdoors in low light situations, action shots, etc.). Another issue is that they only have digital zoom which is no where even close to the quality you get from optical zoom. On the other hand my Lumix point and shoot, 12 MP 16X optical zoom (24mm - 384mm) and GPS is not generally a problem at all to carry with me to events or on family vacations as it fits in my shirt pocket, and it takes awesome photos which in many cases rival the picture quality I get with my DSLR. I don't believe that cellphones will ever have large enough lens, to let in enough light, or optical zoom capability to replace point and shoots, even if they increase the megapixels exponentially it will only yield millions of crappy pixels.
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

In few years no one will buy Point & Shoot cameras. There will be phone cameras & DSLRs. When I had my iPhone 3G I was looking at cameras with location geotagging because I love this feature in iPhoto 09 and how it organizes my photo. The cheapest one that work (sometimes) was at least $300. I decided no way. I will keep using my iPhone 3G even if the camera wasn't as good. Now with improved phone camera quality, and I don't mean in term of MP, I don't see any reason to bother with a dedicated camera that isn't a DSLR.

Excellent point. I traded up my 3Gs to a iP4 for exactly that reason (and increased battery life) and sold my Casio Exilim camera. The camera was just something else to dock, keep charged, have to remember - or more likely forget! And be careful not to leave it on the seat of my car.

Also, I was very happy to get rid of a USB cable and ugly power brick. I almost bought the wifi SD card for it for a $100! Ugh! Glad I didn't!

I briefly had considered a Flip a year ago but didn't buy one. I just use my iP4. I was looking at a stand alone GPS unit and again, just got TomTom GPS App for my iPhone.

Best
post #23 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

What a great post. The Apple Effect. You could add: the entire music industry, the entire mobile telecom industry, the entire netbooks industry, and soon, the entire tv and movie industries.

I agree. IKrups was a great post and so are your additions...
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

In few years no one will buy Point & Shoot cameras. There will be phone cameras & DSLRs. When I had my iPhone 3G I was looking at cameras with location geotagging because I love this feature in iPhoto 09 and how it organizes my photo. The cheapest one that work (sometimes) was at least $300. I decided no way. I will keep using my iPhone 3G even if the camera wasn't as good. Now with improved phone camera quality, and I don't mean in term of MP, I don't see any reason to bother with a dedicated camera that isn't a DSLR.

I disagree. We're a LONG way away from the time that any phone is going to take pictures of good enough quality to replace even a mid-range point-and-shoot. Then there's the high end, but not DSLR cameras - like the new ultra zoom cameras.

Phones are great for quick photos. But if you want photos that will become permanent memories, you probably want something significantly better than a phone - and I don't see that changing any time soon. The technology just isn't there for a lens 5-10 mm in diameter to produce great quality pictures.

Personally, I love my ultra zoom. Great pictures and reasonably convenient (far more convenient than my old DSLR. I guess a professional could tell the difference between pictures taken with an ultra zoom and a DLSR, but it would be hard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhyde View Post

Apple doesn't make a standalone video camera.
There, fixed that for you.


Apple doesn't make a standalone video conferencing device.
There fixed that for you.

Who cares? Why does it need to be a standalone video camera to compete? If people are using their phones for video conferencing and as video cameras, then those people have decided that 'standalone' doesn't have any value for them.
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post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by RKRick View Post

I don't believe that cellphones will ever have large enough lens, to let in enough light, or optical zoom capability to replace point and shoots, even if they increase the megapixels exponentially it will only yield millions of crappy pixels.

Remember that the human eye has only about the same aperture as a cell phone camera, and people are pretty happy with it. I think it's extremely likely that high end digital cameras will get enormously better over the next few years, without increasing lens size, and cell phone cameras will eventually be about as good as today's DSLRs. This will come about by using sensors that are limited only by quantum photon counting statistics, by binning together counts for adjacent pixels when the light gets too low, by never closing down the aperture but instead using other techniques (such as Wavefront Coding) to control depth of field, and by having the solid-state equivalent of optical zoom in these very small optical systems.
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

What a great post. The Apple Effect. You could add: the entire music industry, the entire mobile telecom industry, the entire netbooks industry, and soon, the entire tv and movie industries.

I kinda find that scary.
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post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I disagree. We're a LONG way away from the time that any phone is going to take pictures of good enough quality to replace even a mid-range point-and-shoot. Then there's the high end, but not DSLR cameras - like the new ultra zoom cameras.

Phones are great for quick photos. But if you want photos that will become permanent memories, you probably want something significantly better than a phone - and I don't see that changing any time soon. The technology just isn't there for a lens 5-10 mm in diameter to produce great quality pictures.

Personally, I love my ultra zoom. Great pictures and reasonably convenient (far more convenient than my old DSLR. I guess a professional could tell the difference between pictures taken with an ultra zoom and a DLSR, but it would be hard.

I said few years not now. Remember that for your average user they both look almost the same. Don't underestimate advancement in technology. Just look at pictures taken using the original iPhone (three years ago) and compare it to pictures taken using an iPhone 4. The demand for smartphone is increasing and now more than ever it is worth it to spend more R&D money on those tiny mobile camera sensors. There is lots of money to be made.

Three years back when I go to Wal-Mart or Best Buy I used to see many people around the digital camera area. Now, I hardly see anyone there. Last week I was at my son's elementary school musical and most people, including myself, were taking pictures and videos using phone cameras (mostly iPhones and Androids).
post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwoot27 View Post

Disappointed in seeing Cisco abandon the Flip. The video quality is amazing. They just needed to get with the social aspect of the device in order to make it more appealing. Not everone owns or needs a smart phone. Flip is an awesome video recorder...thats all it needed to be.

Apparently not..... ...maybe in less clumsy hands it might have adapted.... ...but while some things converge and others diverge, the Flip was an endangered species anyway. And won't research it now, but think I've read better cam-corders in gen'l are well on the decline as P&S cam video - not to mention the smart-phone varietal, have emerged as "good enough," in much the same way our ears have dumbed down to accept 256K mp3's and AAC's as close enough to CD quality (which in turn was close enough to true hi-fi, didn't scratch easily and you didn't have to walk to the stereo every 18 minutes or so).

Convenience and less junk to carry are triumphing (a word??) incremental better quality in many areas.... ....fast sound, fast pics, fast vid, fast food....

...there are exceptions, like the Red, but true enthusiast markets with high prices are virtually always niche markets (even tho' they may also be quite profitable as per Mercedes, designer fashion and i7 MBP's, e.g.). The Flip basically got "squozed" from both sides, but mostly the bottom.

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I disagree. We're a LONG way away from the time that any phone is going to take pictures of good enough quality to replace even a mid-range point-and-shoot. Then there's the high end, but not DSLR cameras - like the new ultra zoom cameras.

With the high-end P&S + DSLR argument I can agree (but not necessarily LONG way for the P&S).

For the mid-end P&S-market, there are phones with cameras that clearly exceed their capabilities and picture quality. The N8 was the first and the next 12 months will likely bring more phones to that level and beyond from various manufacturers.

If I compare my Canon higher-end P&S (2008-vintage), My Canon 5D and my friend's N8 picture quality, the message is quite clear. The N8 sits comfortably in the middle.

And for joe average, why would he buy a P&S? For many devices, the quality is already "good enough".

Regs, Jarkko
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Hehe... would be counter culture for them.

Found one of these in a storeroom I was helping clean out a few years back. We plugged it in and it fired right up. Thing was built like a tank. The fan in it was ruffling papers on a desk 20 feet away on the other side of the room! I wonder what happened to it - probably lost in the surplus property system somewhere...

Just about 3 to 5 years ago Linksys gear was quality consumer routers, modems etc. In the past 2 years, I think they've just had their legs sliced off by every cheap piece-of-crap router manufacturer and Linksys quality suffered in the end.

Not to mention some Linksys network adapters I had, for which Windows7 64-bit drivers never came, so I had to go and buy a D-link of all things. 3 years ago D-link was total bottom-of-the-line rubbish. Now they're everywhere!

Everyone slowly realises what a bitch it is dealing with any aspect of consumer gear and consumer retail. It's real different from the corporate world.
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jahonen View Post

With the high-end P&S + DSLR argument I can agree (but not necessarily LONG way for the P&S).

For the mid-end P&S-market, there are phones with cameras that clearly exceed their capabilities and picture quality. The N8 was the first and the next 12 months will likely bring more phones to that level and beyond from various manufacturers.

If I compare my Canon higher-end P&S (2008-vintage), My Canon 5D and my friend's N8 picture quality, the message is quite clear. The N8 sits comfortably in the middle.

And for joe average, why would he buy a P&S? For many devices, the quality is already "good enough".

Regs, Jarkko

Don't forget across Asia a DSLR is a must-show-off status symbol if you are doing any sort of non-cellphone photography. Even if you are a young woman.

Canon and Nikon are doing very well in these areas by adapting their DSLRS for the lower end without compromising their high-end. Sony? Well, as usual trying to do everything from phone cameras to point-and-shoot to DSLRs. It tried to come out with the NEX but in Asia anyway a NEX isn't as bad ass as a "real" DSLR.
post #32 of 44
With the iPhone and its knockoff android wannabes sporting HD video and ok stills, not many people would carry another device doing a similar function.

Frankly Cisco's expansion to 29 areas, as it was announced several years ago, has been a flop all around. They rested on their laurels for networking and others started to chip away at their market. Trying to become a big conglomerate, they lacked focus so they got damaged.
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

I kinda find that scary.

Oh, no need. It will inevitably invite entry, and some day, someone else will come along, and the whole process of creative destruction will start up all over again. That's the beauty of capitalism.

Right now, the only creative destructor in town seems to be Apple. Hence The Apple Effect.
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormM View Post

Remember that the human eye has only about the same aperture as a cell phone camera, and people are pretty happy with it. ...

The human eye, which has some serious software behind it, still far in advance of today's camera software, doesn't actually "record" very accurate pictures, although it works quite well for the purpose it serves, although, not always when, for example, under the influence of alcohol.
post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by iTunes View Post

Now cameras on phones and tablets are getting better and better, point & shoot cameras and camcorders have to retire. It's just evolution, just like digital camera killed traditional camera

Is this the new tekstud alias?
post #36 of 44
Network World posted an unbiased article on this earlier today:

http://www.networkworld.com/communit..._am_2011-04-13
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post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Network World posted an unbiased article on this earlier today:

http://www.networkworld.com/communit..._am_2011-04-13

How is the AppleInsider article biased? Do enlighten us.
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Is this the new tekstud alias?

See post directly above.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Oh, no need. It will inevitably invite entry, and some day, someone else will come along, and the whole process of creative destruction will start up all over again. That's the beauty of capitalism.

Right now, the only creative destructor in town seems to be Apple. Hence The Apple Effect.

Except when big bailouts prevent said destruction. That's the ugly side of "capitalism".
post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

How is the AppleInsider article biased? Do enlighten us.

And on it goes.

I did not say they were. I said Network Worlds' was not.
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