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Apple, Cisco back in iPhone talks

It looked as though Apple and Cisco were back on speaking terms on Thursday, with a joint announcement coming from the companies regarding the licensing of the “iPhone” trademark.

“Apple and Cisco have agreed to extend the time for Apple to respond to the lawsuit to allow for discussions between the companies with the aim of reaching agreement on trademark rights and interoperability,” the joint statement read.

The two companies fell out when Apple introduced its iPhone to the market in early January, without licensing the “iPhone” trademark from Cisco.

Cisco owns the “iPhone” trademark in the US and has done since 2000 when it acquired Infogear, which itself had applied for the trademark in 1996.

Linksys, another division of Cisco, has been shipping a family of wifi-enabled VoIP devices under the iPhone brand since early last year and added launched a handful of new iPhone devices in mid-December.

Cisco and Apple have been in discussions over the “iPhone” trademark for some years but on the eve of the Apple iPhone launch, Cisco claims the Californian company broke off all contact.

The networking equipment manufacturer promptly set the lawyers on Apple. Now Thursday’s news suggests an agreement may be in the works.

In other news, Bryan Lee, the head of the Zune project at Microsoft, has stepped down and is leaving the company to purse other interests.

The move has sparked dark rumours about the future of Zune, which was expected by Microsoft to be “the iPod killer.” Although the MP3/media player made a dent in the market when it launched in November, it still tails the iPod by some margin.

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