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How Apple Took The Names Of iPhone And iOS From Cisco


January 9, 2007 at the Macworld conference held a landmark event for Apple. To the thunder of applause from the audience, Steve Jobs presented a revolutionary product. It was the iPhone smartphone (as it was). This product was destined to make Apple the leading manufacturer of smartphones in the world, dictating fashion and trends. However, only on June 29, 2007 the iPhone went on sale. Impatient fans lined up in line, which could not but rejoice the manufacturer.

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At the presentation, it was stated that the smartphone will be running a special phone version of Mac OS X. And a few years later, Steve Jobs announced the transition to the name iOS to designate iPhone software. The words iPhone and iOS have become inextricably linked with Apple, shaping its image. But few people know where Steve Jobs got both of these words from. In fact, he “borrowed” them from Cisco, or rather, simply took them away.

And although Apple really came up with its own notation with a letter “I” for iMac and iPod products, the trademark on the iPhone belonged to Cisco. This reputable network equipment maker had no market intersection with Apple. Cisco has always focused on professional networking solutions and large businesses, while Jobs was interested in the average consumer. Over time, Cisco turned its attention to this segment with its solutions in the form of home routers and network utilities, however, the companies did not directly compete with each other.

When Apple decided to give its smartphone the name of the iPhone, she did not think to check who owns this brand. Steve Jobs had to solve this problem with Cisco CEO Charles Giancarlo. There are several versions of how Apple managed to get the rights to trade iPhone. In general, the stories are as follows.

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How Steve Jobs took the names of iPhone and iOS from Cisco

Jobs Finger

At that time, Cisco was no less powerful than Apple. Giancarlo did not doubt his innocence and the possibilities to defend it in the negotiations. But he had to face an unusual opponent – Steve Jobs had his own ideas about reality. At first, he simply called Giancarlo several times to give up the iPhone trademark. At the same time, Apple did not offer anything in return. In fact, the company wanted to acquire a trademark for an offer of “friendship.” But is it really accepted in big business? Cisco replied that they were not going to use the word iPhone in their products, but they did not plan to sell the rights to it. Apple lawyers decided that the previous owner abandoned the brand without promoting it and protecting intellectual property. Jobs was assured that the name of the iPhone is quite accessible for use. The day after the presentation of the product, Cisco sued Apple. In addition to executives, lawyers entered into negotiations.

Steve Jobs has been actively involved in the negotiations with the help of his classic tactics. He began to call Giancarlo several times a day. The war was simply worn out. In the end, Jobs called his colleague at 6 pm on Valentine’s Day and uttered the famous phrase: “Can you check your email from home?” Giancarlo was puzzled – broadband Internet was available and the head of an IT company from Silicon Valley clearly had no problems accessing mail. As the sales launch date approaches, the frequency of calls only increased. Unable to achieve his goal, Jobs said that he would launch the iPhone anyway, and continue the fight in court.

As a result, the parties reached a closed agreement on cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

Cisco is believed to have ceded trademark rights in exchange for a future exclusive ten-year contract and tighter integration with its products (Apple planned to do so anyway). Jobs also promised a speech at Cisco headquarters.

The head of Apple proved to be a brilliant negotiator, because his company already planned to use Cisco equipment to upgrade its network infrastructure. Apple could blackmail the opponent by switching to Juniper Networks solutions, but for the company it was not profitable. Cisco decided that they were able to get something from the deal, but, in fact, Jobs got the iPhone trademark rights for free.

Interestingly, in 2010 the story repeated itself again. IPhone software was decided to be called iOS. But Cisco has already used this word earlier (IOS – Internet Operating System). Steve Jobs again actively participated in all stages of the negotiations. The rights to the name of iOS without scandals and courts passed to Apple. Cisco was only able to stipulate the transfer of trademark rights, but not technology. And Steve Jobs once again showed his genius, achieving victories in initially losing situations.

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