How Apple acquired the iPhone

Posted In iPhone - By Joon On Saturday, January 28th, 2012 With 0 Comments

Adam Lachinsky recently published his new book Inside Apple, released just earlier this week, and is full of a lot storied from Apple’s past. Pieces of the book have been popping up over the internet over the last two weeks.

The latest bit that we’ve come across is from the people over at Cult of Mac, who provides some insight onto the details around Apple’s “acquisition” of the iPhone trademark from Cisco Systems.

As a lot of people are probably know, when Apple announced the iPhone back in 2007 at MacWorld, Cisco already owned the rights to the trademark. Cisco is famous for networking solutions and wireless routers and had an internet-based telephone of the same name.

So how did Apple acquire the iPhone trademark? Lachinsky details:

“[Cisco executive] Charles Giancarlo fielded a call directly from Steve Jobs. “Steve called in and said that he wanted it,” Giancarlo recalled. “He didn’t offer us anything for it. It was just like a promise he’d be our best friend. And we said, ‘No, we’re planning on using it.’ “Shortly after that, Apple’s legal department called to say they thought Cisco had “abandoned the brand,” meaning that in Apple’s legal opinion Cisco hadn’t adequately defended its intellectual property rights by promoting the name. To Apple’s way of thinking this meant the name iPhone was available for Apple’s use. Giancarlo, who subsequently joined the prominent Silicon Valley private-equity firm Silver Lake partners, said Cisco threatened litigation before the launch. Then, the day after Apple announced its iPhone, Cisco filed suit.

The negotiation displayed some classic Steve Jobs negotiating tactics. Giancarlo said Jobs called him at home at dinnertime on Valentine’s Day, as the two sides were haggling. Jobs talked for a while, Giancarlo related. “And then he said to me, ‘Can you get email at home?’” Giancarlo was taken aback. This was 2007, after all, when broadband Internet was ubiquitous in homes in the US, let alone that of a Silicon Valley executive who had worked for years on advanced Internet technology. “And he’s asking me if I’m able to get email at home. You know he’s just trying to press my buttons—in the nicest possible way.” Cisco gave up the fight shortly after that. The two sides reached a vague agreement to cooperate on areas of mutual interest.”

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