Tale of the court tape: Apple vs. Palm

Palm has a simple message to Apple's patent bluster as the Pre preps for lift-off: We're not scared. But when you compare the cash balances, which will be used on an army of lawyers, perhaps Palm may want to hang back on the taunting.

Palm has a simple message to Apple's patent bluster as the Pre preps for lift-off: We're not scared. But when you compare the cash balances, which will be used on an army of lawyers, perhaps Palm may want to hang back on the taunting.

The news comes two days after Apple's acting CEO, Tim Cook, made some thinly veiled comments about suing Palm's face off over iPhone intellectual property.

Digital Daily's John Paczkowski reports:

Well, if Palm was shaken by Cook’s remarks, it’s not letting on. Asked if such aggro rhetoric about Apple’s intellectual property and the grim legal fate of those who might pilfer it worried the company, Palm spokesperson Lynn Fox said not in the least. “Palm has a long history of innovation that is reflected in our products and robust patent portfolio (31 pages of patents in Google Patent Search), and we have long been recognized for our fundamental patents in the mobile space,” she told Digital Daily. “If faced with legal action, we are confident that we have the tools necessary to defend ourselves.”

Isn't that swell? I applaud Palm's moxie. And I'd love to read the court docs should Palm and Apple ever duke it out in court. Hell, I just love the Palm as underdog story line.

And then the realist in me emerges.

Intellectual property suits require lawyers. And lawyers require money--lots of it. Apple has billions more than Palm. Apple vs. Palm wouldn't be as bad as Apple vs. Psystar in the resource department, but it's still an ugly matchup.

Also see: Would Apple sue Palm over Pre IP?

Here's the only part of the tale of the tape that'll matter if the verbal jousting between Apple and Palm actually turns into a court case:

Apple has $25.6 billion in cash, cash equivalents and short-term marketable securities. And Palm? Palm has $223.9 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term marketable securities as of Nov. 30. Toss in a $100 million additional capital infusion from Elevation Partners and let's call it $334 million.

In either case, it's pretty clear which party would win a protracted IP ground war.

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