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Can Cisco partnership help Apple get into business?

Cisco Chairman John Chambers with Apple CEO Tim Cook on stage at GSX in Las Vegas

John Chambers may have stepped down recently from his 20 year post as Cisco CEO, but he hasn’t stopped making deals with some of the biggest names in business and technology. Today at Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX) event in Las Vegas, executive chairman Chambers was joined on stage by Tim Cook, Apple CEO, to unveiled a strategic partnership aimed to help the iPhone maker reach the business community.

The two high profile vendors will work to construct a “fast lane” for the Apple iOS for the business user by optimizing Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps. The partnership will also see Cisco integrate iPhone with Cisco enterprise environments along with providing more collaboration on iPads.

At one time Cisco owned the brand-name iPhone and worked with Google Android to build its own tablet called CIUS, but today Chambers is offering Apple an open door to extend iOS devices into Cisco networks.

Cook said he believes his company and Cisco together can give “businesses the tools to maximize the potential of iOS and help employees become even more productive using the devices they already love.”

On the iPhone front, both vendors plan to bring improvements in collaboration tools to the smartphone that will include Cisco developed voice and video environments. The vision here is that the iPhone user will get a seamless experience between the smartphone and the desk phone.

Also look for other Cisco technologies such as Spark, Telepresence and WebEx to be more optimized for iOS across mobile, cloud and even on-premise solutions.

According to a Cisco news release, the Apple WatchOS may also be involved.

Chambers said the Apple strategic partnership took approximately 10 months to close and was reminiscent of the Cisco/IBM deal announced in December of 2014. Also more than a year ago Apple and IBM conducted what was at the time a historic partnership aimed to help Apple establish a foothold into the business community.

Supporting the IBM partnership, earlier this year Apple introduced a sales program called Mobility Partner Program targeted at alliance vendors to incent them to create more business apps for the iOS platform specifically iPads.