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Cisco, Apple quiet on future collaborations

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Cisco Systems Inc. and Apple Inc. have agreed to share the "iPhone" name, but both companies are tightlipped about what future products might come from the resulting deal to collaborate on "interoperability" between the companies' products.

Analysts said the settlement disclosed late Wednesday in Cisco's trademark-infringement lawsuit could help both companies strengthen their positions in the increasingly fierce battle to deliver video and other applications directly to consumers' homes.

Zeus Kerravala, a network infrastructure analyst with Yankee Group, said there are ample opportunities for the companies to dream up collaborative projects to win over consumers.

One possibility, he said, could be a device from Cisco's Linksys division that users call into to record podcasts that are then automatically uploaded to iTunes. Such a product would make it easier to create and disseminate such programs.

However, he cautioned that both companies need to be willing to share to make the partnership work.

The Silicon Valley tech giants said they have agreed to dismiss any pending legal actions regarding the iPhone trademark.

Cisco's lawsuit, which was filed last month in San Francisco federal court, threatened to derail Apple's use of the iPhone name for its much-hyped iPod-cellular phone gadget. The sleek multimedia device is set to go on sale in June with a retail price starting at $499.

The companies said Apple will be allowed to use the name in exchange for exploring wide-ranging interoperability between the companies' products in the areas of security, consumer, and business communications.

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