Existing Cloud Manager users will receive version 2.0 as a free, and optional, software upgrade. Users who wish to can stick with the original edition of the product until five years after its installation date, after which the service will be discontinued.
According to Minasyan, Linksys is in the process of removing its business products from Amazon and other online retailers, to prevent end users from purchasing the product directly.
“A year or so ago, we made a conscious decision to pull away from heavy marketing on Amazon and enforce all of the transactions through our distribution channel,” he says. “Every transaction we have for these things is going to go through the channel.” Linksys no longer sells SMB access points on its own website for the same reason.
Legacy capabilities removed from Cloud Manager 2.0 include features that few companies used. “We’ve taken out some of the fat,” Minasyan says, pointing to the earlier version’s historical network performance reporting as an example.
“No one was really using that,” he says, adding that storing data for those reports cost money that Linksys had to collect in turn from its partners. Eliminating that expense helped make the new edition’s lifetime free licensing possible.
On the roadmap for the captive portal tool is new functionality that will enable businesses to draw on user-specific information about customers on their guest network to distribute coupons, operate loyalty programs, and conduct other marketing activities. Linksys plans to charge a yet to be determined fee for that service, which the company expects to ship by the end of the year.
Linksys is part of Belkin International, which was acquired by Foxconn Interconnect Technology in 2018.