Swords Rattle Over Palm Pre and Apple iPhone

Potential legal showdown has roots in hard feelings for former Apple folks at Palm

Palm Pre with its slide-out keyboard

Apple and Palm took jabs at each other over tech included in the Palm Pre. During Apple's earnings call last week, COO Tim Cook responded to a question about the Pre's multi-touch technology:

I don't want to talk about any specific company. I'm just making a general statement that we think competition is good. It makes us all better. And we are ready to suit up and go against anyone. However, we will not stand for having our IP ripped off and we'll use whatever weapons we have at our disposal. I don't know that I can be more clear than that.

Palm responded last week to the Digital Daily blog:

Palm has a long history of innovation that is reflected in our products and robust patent portfolio and we have long been recognized for our fundamental patents in the mobile space. If faced with legal action, we are confident that we have the tools necessary to defend ourselves.

This conflict may have personal roots. Many of the folks at Palm came from Apple, and it was surprising that his departure from Apple was mentioned by Palm CEO Jon Rubenstein during the Pre unveiling.

It might be more than just competitive juices. Hard feelings from their Apple exits may have motivated the former Apple folks, says Philip Elmer-DeWitt:  "The bad blood between Apple and Palm that bubbled to the surface last week has a history that long predates Palm’s launch of the Pre..."

It's good reading at his Apple 2.0 blog.