Cisco and Apple appear to be genuinely getting their iPhones together, two months after an agreement ended their copyright argument.
The two companies are exploring how Apple's iPhone can work with Cisco's corporate phone products, fulfilling a promise in the statement that ended the pair's argument, which began because Cisco had a prior claim to the iPhone name.
Although both companies operate in different markets, interoperability opportunities "are now being investigated by both technical teams," according to a report of statements from Charlie Giancarlo, Cisco's chief development officer. Possibilities include instant messaging and teleconferencing.
Apple plans to sell its iPhone, a combination of iPod video and music player and mobile phone, from June onwards. The dispute started because Cisco already has its own iPhone - a VOIP (voice over Internet) telephone handset which has no features in common with Apple's iPhone beyond basic telephony - and of course the name.
Mobile telephones from Motorola and Nokia already interoperate with Cisco's iPhone. Interoperability would suit both Apple, which prizes business use of its products, and Cisco, which would value association with Apple's uber-cool reputation. There is speculation that Cisco is keener on interoperability than Apple and has used the court case threat to bring Apple to the interoperability table. Apple has decided not to comment on the Giancarlo interview.
The iPhone has no keypad so using it for anything other than rudimentary text input makes little sense. It does have video capability and an Apple iPhone user might participate in a Cisco iPhone teleconference, perhaps also a Cisco video-conference.
Connection to Cisco's TelePresence video-conferencing product is probably not possible due to that system's end-to-end nature.
Integration with Cisco Mobility Services' products is also possible. These include instant messaging, asset tracking, location services, and application access. The Apple iPhone could use Cisco VOIP services to avoid expensive mobile telephony charges.
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