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Apple plans to protect its iPhone against all contenders.

Palm's new Pre multitouch smart phone -- does the Pre infringe on Apple's patents, and rip off the iPhone's looks? You decide.  (Source: ZDNet)
Apple infers Palm's Pre phone may infringe on its IP, Palm says its not afraid of a fight

Apple created a fuss when Apple's Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook gave some pointed comments directed towards Palm.  The exchange took place during Apple’s recent earnings call.  During the Q&A, one of the reporters asks, "There are other iPhone competitors coming to the market: Android, Palm Pre. How do you think about sustaining leadership in the face of these competitors?"

That's when things went south.  COO Cook responded, "It's difficult to compare to products that are not yet in the market. IPhone has seen terrific rating from customers. Software is the key ingredient, and we believe that we are years ahead of our competitors. Having different screen sizes, different input methods, and different hardware makes things difficult for developers. We view iPhone as primarily a software platform, which is different from our competitors. We don't mind competition, but if others rip off our intellectual property, we will go after them."

Smartly picking up on recent talk of the similarity between Palm's upcoming "Pre" phone and the iPhone's interface, the reporter responds, "The Palm device seems to directly emulate the iPhone's innovative interface. Is that what you're referring to?"

Mr. Cook responds with a veiled threat, stating, "We don't want to refer to any specific companies, so that was a general statement. We like competition because it makes us better, but we will not stand for companies infringing on our IP."

If it weren't for the issues surrounding Palm's new phone, perhaps the comments could be considered ambiguous.  However, Palm's new phone features a multi-touch interface eerily similar to the iPhone's, the first smart phone outside the iPhone to implement this.  Further, it's developed by Jon Rubinstein, formerly Apple's head hardware engineer, who surely had intimate knowledge of the iPhone's inner workings.  He is not alone -- Palm's ranks are populated with ex-Apple engineers.

Well, perhaps the issue might have been settled or simply moved forward to less talk and more legal action, but Palm decided to take a jab back at Apple.  Palm spokesperson Lynn Fox basically tells Apple to “bring it” in a recent comment to the blog All Things Digital.  She states, "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.  If faced with legal action, we are confident that we have the tools necessary to defend ourselves."

Based on Apple's comments, many in the blogosphere are hinting that legal action from Apple seems inevitable when Palm pushes ahead with its new smartphone.  With a history of aggressive litigation, Apple seems unlikely to fail to back its threats. 

And with Palm's hopes of a turnaround riding on its new phone, it's not about to give up without a fight.  Thus the battle for the smart phone, and perhaps total phone sales crown may not be waged by the consumers this year, but in the courts.

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RE: iPhone as a proper name
By foolsgambit11 on 1/23/2009 3:34:29 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that it sounds weird. But I'm not sure exactly why. For instance, if an MS spokesperson said, "Vista has seen terrific ratings from customers", or "We view Vista as primarily a software platform", it sounds fine. In fact, my friends and I used to joke about the non-computer literate in the 90's by asking, "Do you have the Windows, or the DOS?"

You'd never see a car company referring to specific models without a 'the', right? It would be, "We view the Fiesta as primarily a commuter car" or whatever. But Jive Records would say of Britney Spears' newest album, "We view Circus as primarily a coaster." No 'the'.

So, I think the difference between using 'the' and not using 'the' is the same difference as between stealing and piracy. Things that get stolen get a 'the', because they're unique objects. Things that get pirated don't get a 'the', because they're not.

But, in that vein, since Apple views iPhone as primarily a software platform, I guess it makes sense to not use a 'the'. But it doesn't jive with popular usage by any means.

RE: iPhone as a proper name
By mattclary on 1/23/2009 3:43:16 PM , Rating: 2
You hit on something that I thought of after my original post. The difference seems to be an object vs. data. An album, an OS, a book or movie (title), are all data. With objects, we tend to say "the". Leave it to Apple to try to make their object and idea.

RE: iPhone as a proper name
By Dreifort on 1/23/2009 4:16:58 PM , Rating: 4
Vista is an operating system. It is not an actual device.

Try referring to a computer...say, Presario?

"We view Presario as..." or is it "We view the Presario as..."

iPod is a brand name of a device. Vista is the name of a service or software.

"We view Call of Duty as...", not "We view the Call of Duty as..."

Same with car models:

"We view Mustang as...", or is it "We view the Mustang as"

IMO, the grammatically correct verbiage should be "the iPod/iPhone"

RE: iPhone as a proper name
By foolsgambit11 on 1/23/2009 4:56:01 PM , Rating: 2
That's the same conclusion I came to, right? If you can pirate it, it doesn't get a 'the'? We agree 100%.

But even so, the rule doesn't always apply. For instance, you'd call MS's MP3 player "the Zune", but you'd call MS's touch-sensitive table-computer (a device) just "Surface". You'd say, "We view Surface as..." So there, I tried referring to a computer and failed. Even so, I think that's an exception, and the rule we both stated (in different terms) in general still stands.

RE: iPhone as a proper name
By Smilin on 1/23/2009 5:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
It's the preexisting word "phone" that warrants the "the".

If Microsoft were to release a phone based version of Vista and call it "vPhone" then the same silliness would apply.

Sounds normal:
We view the iPhone as...
We view the vPhone as..
We view the Phone as...

Sounds wierd:
We view iPhone as...
We view vPhone as..
We view phone as..

RE: iPhone as a proper name
By foolsgambit11 on 1/23/2009 7:06:17 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree. If MS were to release an OS named "Microsoft mComputer" you wouldn't say that, "We at Microsoft consider the mComputer to be the finest OS ever released." You'd say, "We at Microsoft consider mComputer to be the stupidest name for a piece of software ever." And besides, "windows" is a preexisting word, with no additional 'i'. Additionally, if MS made a phone, it would be a piece of hardware, no longer software, and therefore would get the "the" for that reason, no matter what they named it (given the rule posited above). That's why it's 'the' Zune. And Zune isn't a preexisting word, but it still warrants a 'the'.

RE: iPhone as a proper name
By Etsp on 1/23/2009 11:40:22 PM , Rating: 2
Well, how about this?
One of the things I’ve used on the Google is to pull up maps.
Sounds pretty weird to me. The sort of thing that if a politician said it, it would cause us to endlessly make fun of the fact that he can't speak. (I know, I know, it's over, I should just let it go...)

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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