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Apple, Cisco attempt to meld iPhone technologies

Making good on an earlier pact, Cisco Systems and Apple have begun to explore ways in which their respective iPhone devices can work together.

The two firms ended a fiery dispute over the "iPhone" trademark back in February, avoiding legal proceedings with out-of-court settlement that granted each company the right to use the name on its products.

As part of the agreement, Cisco and Apple also agreed to investigate opportunities for interoperability in the areas of security, and consumer and enterprise communications.

Already there are about a half-dozen ideas on the table, according to Cisco Chief Development Officer Charlie Giancarlo, who revealed in an interview last week that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is discussing with members of his team ways in which to make the Apple iPhone compatible with Cisco's business and consumer equipment.

"We're optimistic, but it's still early," said Giancarlo, adding that ways in which the companies' products can work together "are now being investigated by both technical teams."

The discussions, however, aren't centered on making Cisco's iPhone, an Internet-based home phone, compatible with Apple's wireless device. Instead, Giancarlo said Cisco wants Apple's iPhone to work with its corporate phone systems, allowing users to get the same services, such as instant messaging and teleconferencing, on their Cisco desk phones and Apple iPhones.

Apple has said it will begin selling it's iPhone handset by the end of June. Cisco's vast array of iPhone branded devices were introduced back in December.