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iPhone Vs iPhone

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This whole iPhone thing is very confusing. How will Cisco Systems and Apple reconcile the brand? This was a question that was also on the minds of those who were in attendance at the Cisco Q&A for press at 11:30, right after the John Chambers keynote at CES.

Cisco’s Chief Development Officer Charles Giancarlo opened the Q&A by saying, “Many of you will likely have questions about an announcement that was made approximately 10 a.m., the Apple iPhone. As you know Cisco owns the iPhone name and it has been in use since 1996.” (Katie was in attendance and Giancarlo told her that the brand name came to Cisco via acquisition of Infogear in 2000.)

He went on to add, “I will read this prepared statement and we will not be answering any more questions on this subject.”

“Given Apple’s numerous requests for permission to use Cisco’s trademark over the past several years and our extensive discussions with them recently, it is our belief that with its announcement today, Apple intends to agree to the final document and public statement that was distributed to them last night and that addressed a few remaining items. We expect to receive a signed document today.”

That’s the kind of press statement you could have expected from the old Soviet Politburo. Did Cisco license the name to Apple? A simple yes or no would have worked. If yes, then why did they introduce the Linksys product line in first place? Publicity ploy? Or did they offer Apple a deal that the Count of Cupertino didn’t much care for? Or is this a John Gotti kinda move via press statement? More questions than answers! We are waiting for Apple to call us back.

28 Responses to “iPhone Vs iPhone”

  1. Apple will lose; don’t sympathise with them!

    They were and are being way too arogant; but please buy the applephone when released…

    Or iFone or whatever; since i have a bet on that it won’t be a flop and therefore win a nice cigar :)

  2. I’m pretty surprised that the tide of opinion seems to be with Apple on this one so far! Apple is clearly in the wrong here – and they know it, or they never would have been negotiating with Cisco in the first place.

    Is this the famous Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field (RDF) running at screeching feedback levels? My vote: yes, absolutely.

  3. The work of “iPhone” was to establish iPhone = iPod + phone. The
    entire consumer tech world from Australia to Zambia has had that association fixed in its minds over the past 24 hours.

    It could now almost be called the “Talking Teapot” on release and it
    wouldn’t matter.

    ApplePhone it is.

  4. Update on Cisco’s iPhone Trademark – Intellectual property is the lifeblood of Silicon Valley and we all have to protect our property. The iPhone trademark is owned by Cisco, as noted in your story. We (Cisco) had hoped to reach an agreement to share our trademark with Apple, yet they decided to use the name without our agreement, so we, unfortunately, are having to go to court to stop them from using the name. It is not about money. We still hope we can reach an agreement, but when your neighbor steals your property, you have no recourse other than to call the cops and file a complaint. Full Cisco statement at:

  5. Jobs shrewd licensing negotiation, as seen with Cisco for the iPhone name, is the exact same reason that there is no 3G on the device. He does not let others take advantage of the situation – Cisco for the name and Qualcomm for the technology. It was most likely a hostage situation and he was unable get either WCDMA or CDMA2000 technology in the way he wanted to use. Someone needs to tag the iPhone as another loss for Qualcomm thus joining the likes of Nokia, Telstra, Tata and others finding the GSM religion.

  6. Lokkison

    Charlie Sierra and Ed.
    Why go to the trouble of confusing the consumers?
    By keeping their naming schemes to something that is familiar Apple to consumers ears is wonderful. Calling it the iPhone is wonderful as you don’t have to think twice as to what the “main” function of the device was meant to be.

    As for the “i” equaling Internet now I’d have to strongly disagree. Once yes, though now you’ll find more people seeing it as i equalling something more personal with personality. i = me…

    just ramblings :p

  7. I’m all for calling Apple’s iPhone the Newton. Apple still owns the Newton URL, and if you look at photos of both products, you can clearly see Newton inspiration in the iPhone. From the top and bottom (or left and right) bezel to the menu icons.

    Doesn’t matter to me in the end. I don’t get a Cingular signal at my home/office. I suspect I’m not alone. Besides, I bought the promise of AT&T GSM when it launched, but never enjoyed that over-promised service so I switched. Plus, their customer service philosophy is so not good.

  8. It scares me to think that Apple might win even after making such an arrogant move.

    The far-fetched reasoning is that the speculation and hype has established iPhone as the cell phone that Apple would (and now has) announce. Cisco has not defended this right, much like Google has been trying to do with “google” being confused with “search.”

    I assume that’s why Cisco rolled out the phone which is likely a rebranded version of another phone or a future product.

    I still think Apple and Jobs are heading further down the arrogance path (options scandal, etc.) and this is just another example. What would it really cost? $50M? $100M? $1B?

    Apple gained $7.10 per share today, that’s an increase in market cap by $6.1 billion. Now how much is it worth?

  9. Logically thinking –

    Cisco owns the brand iPhone.
    Apple wants the brand iPhone.

    Both Cisco and Apple seem to be raising the stakes. Cisco announced a few phones by that name. Apple announced an out of the world sexy product by that name.

    Both have high stakes, both have nothing to loose.

    However, it is in the best interest of Apple to own/consume the name, even if it does not use it. Ultimately it comes to the price.

    It remains to be seen who wants and needs it the most. Will Apple pay anything to get it or will Cisco get anything for it?

  10. Ol' Yeller

    Not a single production Apple/i/Phone has been made, nor will be for at least 3 months. Plenty of time to close a deal with Cisco or move on and change the name. Apple isn’t backed into much of a corner because they have a legitimate threat to walk away – in which case Cisco gets nothing but $5-10M wasted on pretending they were launching an iPhone.

    This thing could be called the Edsel and it would still fly off the shelves. iPodfone, ApplePhone, aPhone, doesn’t matter.

  11. There will be no battle, and Apple will pay a pretty penny for the name that Cisco already owns and uses. I’m a little surprised that Apple didn’t lock this up prior to the announcement, becuase Cisco probably has them between a rock and a hard place now, should they choose to play hardball. Sounds like they just want their documents signed so they can start getting paid.

  12. A lot of trademark law revolves around amorphous subjects like “Can Company A’s product be confused with Company B’s product because of the name conflict?” In other words, even though the name “Nike” is trademarked, you could theoretically get away with naming a vacuum cleaner “Nike” if it wasn’t clear to a court that the two were similar enough to be mistaken for one another.

    For this reason, I’m guessing Cisco wanted to get a product out there quickly in order to establish the brand in the open market, however weakly. They probably spent next to no money on it and are basically using it as a strengthening factor in their negotiations, knowing how much Apple wants the name.

    Just a guess though…

  13. Might note that it’s not out in the wild yet and they did change from iTV to AppleTV. Bet it’s just a game of chicken with Cisco so if the terms are right, ok, it could be iPhone. If not, ApplePhone is fine too. With the corporate name change I wouldn’t doubt that Apple will also be changing their whole naming scheme. After all, the “i” is getting a little dated and the “i”nternet isn’t unique anymore.

    Just my 2 cents ;-)

  14. Apple should have come up with a better name than “iPhone”. The “iPhone” name is lame, imho.

    iMac = computer
    iPod = music player
    iPhone = phone

    Come on. Get creative like you used to be. Product marketing?

  15. Its seems pretty obvious that Apple had approached them but never agreed to the Cisco terms as recent as last night.

    Apple, however, went ahead without an agreement so Cisco assumes their most recent proposal was accepted.