Cook issues veiled threat to iPhone competitors (Updated 2x)

Cook issues veiled threat to iPhone competitors (Updated 2x)

Summary: One thing that stuck out to me in Apple's Q1 2009 earnings conference call was Apple COO (and acting CEO) Tim Cook's multiple mentions of competitors who might "rip off our IP" (Intellectual Property) relative to the iPhone. Well that and his raspy voice – get that man a lozenge!

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palmpre_01One thing that stuck out to me in Apple's Q1 2009 earnings conference call was Apple COO (and acting CEO) Tim Cook's multiple mentions of competitors who might "rip off our IP" (Intellectual Property) relative to the iPhone. Well that and his raspy voice – get that man a lozenge!

We like competition, as long as they don’t rip off our IP, and if they do, we’re going to go after anybody that does … We will not stand for having our IP ripped off and we’ll use whatever weapons we have at our disposal [to make sure that doesn't happen]. I don’t know that I can be more clear than that.

Apple COO Tim Cook on the company’s iPhone intellectual property

While he didn't mention Android, Blackberry or Palm specifically by name, Cook fired a very clear warning shot across the bow of all three iPhone competitors as they start to make inroads on Apple's turf.

Cook's comment seemed to be targeted squarely at Palm and its new Pre handset. At issue are several Pre features that tread dangerously close to Apple's 200 iPhone patents. The Pre's multitouch and touchscreen gesture technology similar to that found on the iPhone. SlashGear notes:

Both the Pre and the iPhone have capacitive panels capable of recognising multiple points of contact and complex gestures; judging by the state of the technology, it’s fair to assume that today’s implementations of multitouch are simply scratching the surface of what is possible.  Palm is believed to be using a capacitive panel by Cypress Semiconductors, who boast their technology is capable of individually tracking ten touch-points; the origin of the iPhone touch panel is still unknown, although in Cypress’ video demo they do show the Apple smartphone at several points.

Let's also not forget that Palm’s executive chairman is Jon Rubinstein, the former Apple executive behind the iPod and that Palm is full of former Apple engineers. One can see why this combination of coincidences might ruffle a few legal feathers in Cupertino.

Update: Palm doesn't seem to be scared by Apple's saber rattling, telling Digital Daily that "If faced with legal action, we are confident that we have the tools necessary to defend ourselves." Palm spokesperson Lynn Fox (also, ex-Apple) went on to say that "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."

Update 2: When Apple first announced the use of capacitive surface trackpads in their PowerBook line they also announced that Cypress Semiconductor was supplying the chips for the trackpads. This thread explains the origins of Apple's touch surface and how it is originally believed to come from John Elias and Wayne Westerman, co-founders of FingerWorks. (Tip: Dan)

Should Cook release the hounds? Or does Palm have a case for the Pre?

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Enterprise Software, Legal, Mobility, Networking

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14 comments
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  • The pride is palpable

    It is amazing to me how [b]proud[/b] Apple evangelists are at the thought that Apple might just sue Palm out of existence, eliminating [b]choice[/b] in the marketplace and harming consumers. You people should be ashamed of yourselves.
    NonZealot
    • What are you talking about.....

      You're the only one here posting your negative anti Apple
      crud once more and I see not Apple fans posting anything
      in regards too Palm or running said out of business.

      Now that thats covered. I certainly don't hope for Palms
      demise. However that said who's fault is it? The thief who
      steels and runs from the law only to get shot or the owner
      who wants he/her property back?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Who says it is Apple's property?

        they make that claim, but have yet to prove that in court.

        And the problem lies that Apple, with it's stockpile of cash, may be attempting to scare Palm away from releasing that which they are legally allowed to release as they fear it will impact sales of the iPhone/iPod:

        [i]However that said who's fault is it? The thief who steels and runs from the law only to get shot or the owner who wants he/her property back?[/i]

        That certainly sounds as though you have allready decided that Apple is the property owner, branding Palm as the theif.
        GuidingLight
      • I've never seen anyone contradict themselves so quickly...

        [i]... I see not Apple fans posting anything
        in regards too Palm or running said out of business.[/i]

        And almost in the same breath...(those are the footsteps of the fan boi running up)

        [i] However that said who's fault is it? The thief who
        steels and runs from the law only to get shot or the owner
        who wants he/her property back? [/i]

        Judge, jury, and executioner in only two tiny, contradictory paragraphs. Well done.
        MGP2
        • Nicely done!

          I don't even bother to read the posts from the likes of Mr. Pagan any more (the horrific grammar, spelling, and logic hurts my brain) but it looks like he truly outdid himself this time! :)
          NonZealot
        • looks like...

          looks like you need to learn some reading comprehension...
          doh123
          • Feel free to back up your claim...

            ...with some sort of explanation as to why you say that. Or do you just prefer the "hit & run" style of criticism? At least I explained why I wrote what I wrote.

            Perhaps you need to learn how to communicate. Hmmmmm?
            MGP2
    • So when you post...

      your anti-Apple rantings, trying to convince people that they
      should never buy any Apple product, that's to promote
      choice?

      When you sit around talking to yourself, do you ever listen to
      what you say?
      msalzberg
    • Was this you NZ

      Hoping Apple gets "fried" over some obscure patent?
      http://blogs.zdnet.com/ip-telephony/?p=2792
      oncall
  • Apple loves a competing product in the market place

    as long as the product is not competing against them!
    GuidingLight
  • This won't make iPhone worshippers happy

    [url=http://wmpoweruser.com/?p=2569] Read it and weep Apple evangelists. [/url]

    [i]Here's a bit of news that may come as a suprise to most of the iPhone obsessed world. According to Steve Ballmer, in the recent earnings conference call, more than 5 million Windows Mobile units were sold in Q4 2008. This is significantly more than the 4.4 million iPhones sold that the other Steve announced in Apple's own earnings release.[/i]

    While iPhone sales [b]fell 40%[/b], WM sales increased... again (by 25% this time). :) WinMo is DOOOOOOMED!!!! :)
    NonZealot
    • You should read what this guy has to say:

      [u]http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-11408-0.html?
      forumID=1&threadID=56847&messageID=1076119&start=-
      9992[/u]
      msalzberg
  • RE: Cook issues veiled threat to iPhone competitors (Updated 2x)

    I really get tired of this crap...a patent should be a new and unusual idea...These days it isn't..these crooks patent their own mother, they would patent air if they could. They're not businessmen, they're crooks.
    proton_z
  • RE: Cook issues veiled threat to iPhone competitors (Updated 2x)

    the way I view this ? How long has the touch technology been around? Why is it that when there is a viable alternative, OR alternatives, to the IPhone, Apple decides that they are going to implement a lawsuit NOW ?
    e159geek