Cisco tablet not an iPad wannabe: Chambers

CEO says Cius is a device for the workplace. By Jim Duffy

Cisco Systems' new Cius tablet for business collaboration will remain a business tool and will not become a consumer-market competitor to the iPad or Kindle, Cisco CEO John Chambers told a press roundtable at the Cisco Live conference in Las Vegas last week.

"It's complementary to the iPad," Chambers said.

Cius was in development for 18 months, from concept to product, Chambers said. He said its development was very quiet with information on it contained internally within Cisco.

Still, that didn't stem speculation that Cisco was up to something — especially with the way Apple's iPad was being snapped up upon its release.

Cius is aimed at markets in technologically transitional stages, such as education and healthcare. Indeed, during the product's launch at Cisco Live, the vendor demonstrated how Cius could be used to facilitate a conference between teacher, pupil and parents to discuss the pupil's progress.

In healthcare, Cius could foster collaboration between healthcare providers, patient, insurance company and family to discuss and determine a course of treatment. And in even more serious situations, such as natural disasters, it could perhaps save lives, Chambers suggested.

But first and foremost, Cius is a business tablet designed for collaborative business applications. Consumers will have to look elsewhere for a home tablet — and for a smartphone, Chambers reiterated.

Asked during the roundtable if Cisco would produce a smartphone to go up against the iPhone or BlackBerry, Chambers delivered an emphatic no.

"But do we want to develop products that integrate data, voice and video? Yes," he added, just as emphatically.

Asked then if Cisco regretted allowing Apple to use the name "iPhone" — Cisco sued Apple for trademark infringement over the name but the two companies suspended litigation and agreed to share it — Chambers said he did not.

"It's all about the internet," he said. "We focus on how to make the market bigger."

He then said Cisco also had a trademark on the name "NetScape" but agreed to let the 1990s competitor to Microsoft use it for its company and web browser product name.

"We gave them their name," Chambers said of NetScape.

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Tags technologyiPadciscoJohn ChambersCius

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