Will Apple Sue Palm's Pants Off? (AAPL, PALM)

When Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone and its multi-touch user interface two years ago, he said something along the lines of “…and boy have we patented it.”

Fast forward two years, and finally one competitor — Palm — has finally seemed to have replicated multi-touch for its new WebOS platform and Pre smartphone. Does that mean there’s a lawsuit ahead?

Apple COO Tim Cook sure sounded like there could be on today’s Apple earnings call.

“We like competition as long as they don’t rip off our IP,” he said, referring to intellectual property, potentially including multi-touch. “And if they do, we’re going to go after anybody that does.”

When asked about Palm (PALM) specifically, Cook said:

“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 will use whatever weapons that we have at our disposal. I don’t know that I can be any more clear than that.”

Apple’s new rivalry with Palm is deeper than multi-touch. Former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein led Palm’s WebOS development effort and hired many former Apple employees in the process.

See Also:
Apple Rocks Christmas, Guidance Strong, iPhone Weak
Apple Loses Multi-Touch Exclusive To Palm
Palm’s New Pre Smartphone Looks Good!

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