Remember that note we were passed a month or so ago? The one that said Cisco had trademarked the name “iPhone” back in 2000, and Apple didn’t really have the rights to the name? My eyebrows raised when Apple head Steve Jobs dropped the name, and I’m sure not the only one – especially at the Cisco camp. They’ve pulled out the big guns and are suing Apple over the iPhone trademark.
I really don’t know what Cisco (or Apple) are going to do now that nearly the entire world is salivating over this new device. Thought was kind enough to weigh in with his take on the matter.
It’s not money that’s preventing the deal, but it seems that Cisco wanted the arrangement to include interoperability between the Apple iPhone and the Cisco iPhone, and apparently that didn’t go down so well with Apple.
Here’s the explanation from the General Counsel of Cisco on his blog:
“What were the issues at the table that kept us from an agreement? Was it money? No. Was it a royalty on every Apple phone? No. Was it an exchange for Cisco products or services? No.
Fundamentally we wanted an open approach. We hoped our products could interoperate in the future. In our view, the network provides the basis to make this happen-it provides the foundation of innovation that allows converged devices to deliver the services that consumers want. Our goal was to take that to the next level by facilitating collaboration with Apple. And we wanted to make sure to differentiate the brands in a way that could work
for both companies and not confuse people, since our products combine both web access and voice telephony. That’s it. Openness and clarity.”
I can understand why Cisco wanted a piece of the action with the Apple product. After all, it’s probably going to be a huge hit. But I can also understand why Apple would reject this part of the proposal; this is actually asking for much more than a simple cash payment. You have the problems of the two companies working together (and Apple likes to have full
control), you have the marketing challenges, and then you also have the challenges of keeping your cellular carrier partners happy.
I can imagine carrier partners like AT&T/Cingular perhaps having an issue with Apple collaborating with Cisco on a VoIP product. Who knows where all of this is headed? Maybe it will get settled once Apple and AT&T find a way to like the idea of working with Cisco on this type of joint venture.