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Cisco’s two major channel executives made a big point of mentioning their embrace of Apple mobile devices during last week’s Cisco Partner Summit in San Francisco.

Senior Vice President of Cisco’s Worldwide Channel Organization Keith Goodwin told a keynote audience of partners that he’d moved to the iPhone just three weeks ago. And Edison Peres, senior vice president of Cisco’s Worldwide Partner Organization Go-to-Market strategy showed a series of PowerPoint slides from his Apple iPad during his portion of the keynote address.

In their carefully crafted presentations, designed to position the company as the player to bet on as we head into what many say is the most brutal vendor-to-vendor technology battle they have ever seen, there’s no doubt that Cisco chose to showcase the Apple products. But why? Cisco has a strong partnership with Microsoft and a strong bet on Microsoft technologies.

But there’s no questioning the growing presence and even dominance of Apple in business and even the enterprise. More VARs are embracing the technology, too, given that it offers another integration opportunity and revenue opportunity in customer shops.

Maybe that’s also why Cisco offers a WebEx teleconference app for the iPhone and was quick to announce one specifically designed for the iPad soon after the device was generally released. On the other hand, recent rumors say that Cisco is preparing its own tablet device with a slide-out physical keyboard and a front facing camera as a mobile telepresence device.

Meanwhile, HP was announcing its acquisition of Palm, in spite of its ownership of iPaq phones and PDAs.

Both companies seem to be headed to offering a truly end-to-end infrastructure, from the largest server and switch in the data center, down to the mobile devices in every road warrior’s pocket. This war will be fought on all fronts.

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