A joke making the rounds on the Web Dec. 15 said the iPhone will be released on Dec. 18.
Here's the punch line: It's true. Not only that, but the company unveiling the device isn't Apple Computer (AAPL). Instead, the manufacturer behind a series of new products bearing the iPhone name is Linksys, a unit of networking equipment maker Cisco Systems (CSCO).
The company is announcing a series of Web-enabled telephone handsets designed to work with Internet calling services such as Skype, a division of eBay (EBAY), and other services, including SIP Phone's Gizmo Project.
For longtime tech watchers, Cisco's ownership of the iPhone name shouldn't come as a big surprise. Cisco has owned the trademark on the iPhone brand since 2000, when it acquired Infogear—which had registered the name in 1996. Infogear showed an Internet appliance bearing the iPhone name at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 1997. Cisco spent $301 million to acquire Infogear in 2000. It later acquired Linksys, a maker of consumer home-networking products, in 2003.
News source: businessweek.com