Taking Umbrage With WSJ’s Holman Jenkins Over iPhone Column
The old adage in communications is never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. However, there isn’t an equal adage for 1’s and 0’s, so, hence, as Cisco invented the router and the network which is the platform for all current communications, I think it is appropriate to respond to Wall Street Journal columnist Holman Jenkins on this Cisco blog. (Note: please read this blog’s disclaimer…I am clearly speaking for myself here.)He wrote a column last week (January 17th) entitled “iFoodfight” about the iPhone trademark and Cisco’s suit against Apple. If you have a WSJ subscription, you can read it online here. He’s a good writer and a good columnist, but I had to wait a few days to respond so I could calm down in response to this one. Here is what I would write him:Dear Mr. Jenkins: Your piece on the iPhone (“iFoodfight,” January 17, 2007) issue deserves comment. First, you write an opinion piece, so you are entitled to say what you want. However, to suggest that one should “love” a company for using a trademark that is owned by someone else is, to use Apple’s own words to respond to our lawsuit, “silly.” In this era of post-Enron, backdating options and trying to win back investors confidence in the marketplace, playing by the rules should be championed, flaunting rules should not be. Further, to suggest that Cisco doesn’t make products that people care about is to say that people don’t care about broadband, internet security, wireless access, video connectivity, VoIP and the whole networked universe. As 80% of all internet traffic touches Cisco equipment at some point, I think you might need to reassess what people care about. Last I checked, this Internet thing is pretty popular.Lastly, you write, the impression is that “Cisco’s business plan for ‘iPhone’ never amounted to more than an urge to exploit Apple’s intention to launch a product of the same name.” To be clear, the iPhone trademark dates back to 1996 with Infogear, which Cisco acquired in 2000. If we or Infogear were that prescient in 1996 to think that someday we could sue Apple for their infringing on our iPhone trademark at some point some eleven years later, then we deserve all the credit in the world. Best, John EarnhardtSenior Manager, Media OperationsCisco Systems, Inc.