Daniel Eran Dilger
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Why Apple’s Tim Cook Did Not Threaten Palm Pre


Daniel Eran Dilger

Bloggers jumped on comments from Apple COO Tim Cook to suggest that the company is planning legal action to shut down Palm’s webOS Pre phone before the device can even make it to the market. They’re wrong, here’s why.
In order to create an appearance of legitimacy, bloggers contributing to the “Apple will sue Palm to kill off Pre before it can destroy the iPhone!!” meme carefully edited Cook’s comments to remove his flat rejection of the idea that Apple has any specific plans to sue Palm. Here’s what was really said during the conference call:

Question: “Now a number of competitors coming for iPhone. Their own variance on customer experience, Palm Pre, Android, Windows. How do you think about sustaining your leadership in sector?”

Cook: “I would say, first of all, it’s difficult to judge products that are not yet in the market. The iPhone has sold over 17 million units thus far. It’s received the highest overall customer satisfaction from many different surveys. And we’ve said since the beginning software’s the key ingredient, and we believe we’re still years ahead on software. I would include with software the Applications Store ad you’ve seen the explosion with half a billion downloads.

”When you think of having multiple variations of displays, of resolutions and input methods, and of hardware, it’s a big challenge to a software developer and it’s not very enticing to build a different app for every one of these things. But we’ll see what people will do. We approached this business as a software platform business, so we’ve approached it fundamentally different than those who approached it only from a hardware point of view.

“We are confident with where we are competitively. We’re watching the landscape, we like competition. As long as they don’t rip off our IP, and if they do, we’ll go after anybody that does. I thought that might be your next question, so that’s why I wanted to get that out.”

Question: “Are you referring to Palm when you say ripping off IP?”

Cook: “I’m not talking about any specific company. I’m just making a general statement. We think competition is good, it makes us better. But we will not stand to have our IP ripped off. We will go after them with every weapon at our disposal. I don’t think I can be more clear than that.”

So what really happened was that Cook was asked how Apple will retain leadership against the eroding, obsolete Windows Mobile; the fledgling, unproven Android; and the vaporware Palm Pre. Cook’s answer was that Apple is confident in the software platform-centric strategy it had developed, and thinks it is still years ahead of what other companies are trying to do.

Cook also noted that Apple is confident in its ability to compete, as long as other companies don’t simply rip off its intellectual property. It’s wasn’t Cook who brought up the Palm Pre, it was a purposely leading question invented by a analyst. Rather than reinforcing that idea however, Cook specifically backed away from making any comment on Palm’s new demoware.

To announce that Apple “hinted at plans” to sue Palm is simply disingenuous trolling. Even so, a variety of pundits have now started running with this idea as if it were established fact. This is why some bloggers and even web writers related to certain quasi-journalism sort-of-magazine brands are getting so difficult to take seriously anymore.

Suing for Look and Feel

The last time Apple famously sued over “look and feel” to protect its platform, things backfired. Contrary to popular belief, Apple didn’t indiscriminately sue everyone who copied the Mac desktop. It ignored the Commodore Amiga, BEOS from Berkeley Systems, and even the Atari ST, which shamelessly cloned the Mac UI in its GEM DOS without even attempting to be original at all.

Those Apple did sue were the companies threatening to lift the entire Mac OS and copy it on IBM PCs, so that IBM’s equipment monopoly could be used to trample Apple using the company’s own creation. Apple successfully stopped HP’s NewWave package as well as DRI’s GEM/1 for the PC (the same UI Atari had licensed, but was not sued over). It also sued Microsoft over Windows.

Apple wasn’t suing to stop competition, it was suing as a last resort to stop the shameless lifting of its work to benefit IBM’s hardware sales, which were already dominant and benefitted from economies of scale that Apple couldn’t survive against, were it to be stripped of all the effort it had invested into building a unique product.

 Wp-Content Uploads 2007 10 Rd-Rdm.Tech.Q3.07-C0Ef7E47-676D-421F-Ac12-04445A2324E9-Files-80S

SCO, Linux, and Microsoft in the History of OS: 1980s
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Unintended Consequences

The company failed to win its suit against Microsoft because of a 1985 deal that granted the company unspecified rights to concepts in the Mac OS. Microsoft had pushed Apple to sign the deal in exchange for not canceling Excel for Mac, and not porting Excel to the PC for another two years. That ended up being a very expensive contract for Apple once the two year period of Excel exclusivity expired but the loosely worded free license to Mac intellectual property didn’t.

Even worse than losing its suit against Microsoft was the fact that Apple had effectively destroyed all of Microsoft’s competition on the PC. By the early 90s (the case wasn’t fully over until 1994), Microsoft effectively had no competition outside of its jilted partner IBM and the company’s OS/2, which Microsoft had all but destroyed itself.

Microsoft’s strongest competitor in terms of technology was Steve Jobs’ NeXT, and Apple had sued it into a niche role as well. Apple’s IP-lawsuits not only ensured that Microsoft faced no competitive distractions from alternative software, but were also based upon shaky interpretations of copyright, which had never really been applied to software before. The courts effectively determined that software development wouldn’t be protected automatically (the same way artwork generally is) unless its originators explicitly patented their ideas.

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Patent Pounding

At the time, Microsoft’s Bill Gates announced that software makers shouldn’t be threatened by intellectual property restrictions. He opposed software patents and copyright law that might prevent Microsoft from pursuing its imitative “copy and paste” style of development, which allowed the company to outsource its research and development to the industry in exchange for nothing.

It didn’t take long for Gates to change his mind however. Once Microsoft became the leader in desktop operating systems and office productivity suites, Microsoft began patenting everything, making it impossible for third parties to implement even basic interoperability with Microsoft’s file systems, file formats, network protocols, or APIs without facing an avalanche of patent lawsuits.

Microsoft famously threatened open source development with hundreds of patents in its portfolio, suggesting that any companies that might dare to fund or support open source development related to Linux could end up buried in an expensive legal fight with Microsoft’s well armed attorneys. Having built his empire upon stolen ideas, Gates now wanted to protect it from any competitive threats that might rival it.

Microsoft’s Unwinnable War on Linux and Open Source
Mac Office, $150 Million, and the Story Nobody Covered

iPhone Patents

At the release of the iPhone, Steve Jobs announced that it, too, had filed for hundreds of patents related to its unique features as a warning to other companies hoping to clone the device rather than develop their own independent competitors. At the same time however, every aspect of the iPhone was not patented nor could be.

There was nothing completely new about multitouch in itself, as the technology had already been widely demonstrated. Apple did have key patents protecting its specific implementation of multitouch features and supporting technologies however, as well as aspects of its development frameworks, industrial design features, and other unique inventions proprietary to the company.

When pundits reduce this patent production down to the “multitouch” buzzword and suggest Apple will sue new upstarts out of business before they can enter the game, they’re forgetting that Apple has already learned a thing or two about patent lawsuits already. Not just from its own failed efforts to sue companies porting the Mac interface to the PC, but also in the last decade of protecting itself from a flurry of patent trolls who have sued the company over a variety of patented concepts.

Apple has become masterful at negotiating deals with patent owners and disputing illegitimate patent attacks. Many in the industry were ecstatic over the prospect that Creative might be able to sue the iPod out of production using dubious patents, but Apple instead created a partnership with Creative that allowed the company to begin making money as an iPod accessory maker. When lawyers from Burst came after Apple using the huge war chest of patent troll funding they had extorted from Microsoft, Apple invalidated half of their portfolio, threw them a disappointing settlement, and kicked them to the curb. Apple knows how to play the complex patent game.

Pre and the iPhone

Palm’s new webOS Pre likely does more for Apple than it does to threaten the company. Palm’s new platform has the potential to resurrect Palm as a credible competitor in the smartphone industry. Without it, Palm would simply be another Windows Mobile licensee. But pushing its own new platform, Palm can both jettison its dumpy old Palm OS and reclaim territory it ceded to Microsoft with its Windows Mobile-based Treos, a stupid move which served to rapidly double Microsoft’s market share at Palm’s expense.

Palm’s history of incompetence may be tempered by its biggest partner: Sprint. That provider, America’s third largest, is the nation’s new Cingular: desperate for a comeback and needy for some positive press. In 2007, Cingular was launched back into credibility by Apple’s iPhone, which helped positively rebrand the company as AT&T. Sprint now needs an iPhone of its own, and is eyeing the Pre as just that.

Sprint is currently hemorrhaging customers to other providers, principally Verizon Wireless; if it can get behind the Palm Pre and help market and promote the new phone, it will not only put Palm back on its feet as a viable manufacturer, but will also shove a stick into the eye of Verizon. Both things would help Apple’s iPhone and its AT&T partnership, because Verizon is also AT&T’s biggest competitor. If Sprint can syphon off some of Verizon’s growth, it will help AT&T remain in front.

The Palm Pre isn’t really a strong, direct competitor to the iPhone in that it lacks the same media features and high performance apps (including console-style gaming) that distinguish the iPhone. It is a strong competitor to the variety of forgettable phones from LG, Samsung, Motorola, and other makers that Verizon is shipping with Windows Mobile, which like Palm’s existing Palm OS and Windows Mobile phones, can’t run significant games or provide strong media features either.

 Rd Rdm.Tech.Q1.07 E1Dd097F-Ee28-4Fba-A1F2-D831512E423F Files Palm-3

The Egregious Incompetence of Palm
Palm Pre: The Emperor’s New Phone

Splitting up the Competition

The Palm Pre also distracts attention from Google’s Android, splintering the iPhone haters between two groups: those that like any alternative that might be “more open” than the iPhone, and those that flock to anything that might be “more shiny” than the iPhone. The Palm Pre divides up the Apple-haters in the smartphone market the same way Apple haters in the PC market are split between advocating Linux and advocating Vista. Split your competition, and both halves will begin competing with each other.

By allowing competitive platforms to flourish without legal threats, Apple will be able to contrast its technology against rivals on a level playing field. The company is much more comfortable in that position rather than taking on a single monopolist such as Microsoft, or a coalition of big industry partners such as Symbian or Android.

Symbian and Android are already competing over supremacy in open platforms, while Windows Mobile and RIM duke it out as proprietary alternatives to Apple. Having Palm’s webOS Pre join the fray will only take that much more market attention away from existing competitors, while Apple continues to build its position as the leader in mobile apps within iTunes, and the maker of the most famous smartphone on the planet.

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How Competition helped the iPod

With the iPod, Apple’s strongest two adversaries were initially Microsoft’s PlaysForSure platform, which leveraged the company’s PC monopoly to push Windows Media DRM in places Apple couldn’t reach, and Sony, which had the very strong Walkman brand and a reputation for making good hardware. After the iPod started taking off, competition from other companies helped Apple rather than hurting it.

Companies that introduced their own non-Microsoft players (including Sony) helped to marginalize the PlaysForSure platform. Cheap players helped make Sony’s gear look overpriced, pulling away buyers. Microsoft’s own Zune delivered a lethal stab to PlaysForSure itself, scattering Microsoft’s partners and turning them into embittered rivals. Independent companies such as Archos funneled attention away from Apple’s competitors, even as the iPod brand itself advanced as the household word for MP3 player.

If the iPod had only faced a solitary platform from Microsoft that everyone in the industry supported, Apple would have had a much harder time competing for attention, just as it had a very hard time getting the Mac recognized in a sea of Windows PCs. That’s largely the reason why Windows Enthusiasts hate any competition to Microsoft; they know that the company just doesn’t do well when facing real competition. Take away competition, and Microsoft always wins!

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Steve Jobs and the iTunes DRM Threat to Microsoft

How Competition helped the Mac

A similar effect is occurring within the desktop PC market, thanks to the increasing mindshare of Linux. As the idea of alternatives to Windows is increasingly accepted, Apple gains from having an additional audience of potential switchers. Many of the company’s first adopters to Mac OS X were Linux users who wanted a Unix-like operating system that “just worked” and came with vendor support.

New systems shipping with Linux or other free operating systems further question the need to depend upon Microsoft. A similar principle is at work within desktop software segments as well. OpenOffice suggests the possibility of alternatives to Office, providing auxiliary support for also considering Apple’s iWork as an option. Firefox and Opera suggested that Internet Explorer could use some competition, opening the field for Safari.

As s smaller rival seeking to erode Microsoft’s domination over the industry, Apple desperately needs active competition from as many parties as possible. Microsoft, in contrast, prefers to have individual rivals it can target and destroy. Back in the late 90s, it could take over the browser space by simply killing Netscape; in today’s climate of multiple browser options, that isn’t possible any longer. It could kill Sun’s Java on the web, but is today struggling against competitive web app platforms, with Silverlight facing both Macromedia’s Flash and HTML5 developments from Apple and Google. It could once scuttle SGI, but is now having a hard time keeping ahead of all of the OpenGL partners.

The more fractured the PC, MP3, and smartphone markets are, the better Apple looks as the vendor of simple, integrated solutions with differentiated technologies. In contrast, any competition in any market is viewed as a threat at Microsoft. So while Apple will attempt to stop other companies from stealing its work, it has no interest in removing any specific competitors from the marketplace, particularly Palm’s new Pre. Microsoft, on the other hand, would like nothing better than to kill the Pre before it arrives. Will it? The next article takes a look.

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  • iBill

    Nice article. The 3rd paragraph in the section “Pre and the iPhone” is truncated.

  • enzos

    Tech journalists giving themselves something to write about – who’d have thunk it?!
    Cheers Dan

  • markt

    I have to disagree with you (extremely rare). I do believe that if an iPod competitor had ripped off the scroll wheel design from Apple they would have sued. I think the same is true for elements of the multotouch interface, particularly around pinching to zoom, which seems to have been avoided by the other touch screen competitors.

    [To clarify, I’m not at all suggesting that Apple wouldn’t attempt to shut down cloners, as Cook himself guaranteed the company would. I’m pointing out that the media frenzy of sympathy for Palm’s vaporware in the face of invented legal action that hasn’t materialized nor has even been actually threatened is absurd.

    Apple has a lot less to worry about from Palm than it does from Chinese cloners who are directly trying to rip off the iPhone, for the reasons I cited. – Dan]

  • waveney

    You are so right on this and this piece is no less than perfect in describing the iPhone/Pre IP spat.
    For a laff, go over to
    and read a few comments. Hilarious is hardly the word. The leader article has unleashed an avalanche of Apple bashing hate-fest posts based on the erroneous idea that Apple thinks it ‘owns’ multitouch.
    C’est la vie
    Thanks as always for a different perspective

  • Per

    Great article. Your fragmentation theory is very interesting. A company that is confident about its own products, like Apple, thrives in a competitive environment. Microsoft, however, only approves of competition when it’s a matter of different makers using their software.

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  • The Mad Hatter

    The more fractured the PC, MP3, and smartphone markets are, the better Apple looks as the vendor of simple, integrated solutions with differentiated technologies. In contrast, any competition in any market is viewed as a threat at Microsoft. So while Apple will attempt to stop other companies from stealing its work, it has no interest in removing any specific competitors from the marketplace, particularly Palm’s new Pre. Microsoft, on the other hand, would like nothing better than to kill the Pre before it arrives. Will it? The next article takes a look.

    Adopting Windows Mobile was the biggest mistake that Palm ever made, as evidenced by the popularity of the Centro, which is outselling the Palm Windows Mobile phones quite nicely, even with it’s antique operating system. I’ve used Palm devices for years, and Palm OS has always been easy to operate, while I found Windows Mobile to be a pain in the neck. I’ve been hoping that Palm would come up with something good, and while I don’t think it is as good as the IPhone, I think that the Pre should look really good when compared to most of the rest of the Smart Phones on the market today.

    As to Microsoft – the company has always avoided competing directly in the market, by negotiating with the computer OEMS to use Microsoft only products. Microsoft appears to have a huge inferiority complex.

  • http://ideasengine.cytv.com cy_starkman

    Great article. Well thought through.

    I have to take issue with your statement that the Amiga OS was a “Copy” of System x. It’s an easy throw away all these long years after when few would remember anyway.

    I was an extensive user of Amiga OS and the Mac GUI’s at the time, also with exposure to OS2, Win and GEM (including Atari ST), i have also used BEOS for a time (curiosity)

    BEOS started development in 91, 6 years later and copied many core concepts from the Amiga OS, many of those “rips” have been thankfully “stolen” into OSX.

    Amiga OS in 1985 also used pre-emptive multi tasking, something that Apple did not introduce until 16 years later, by using NeXT; System 9’s tacked on effort, was just that an add on in 1999. UNIX offered this as far back as 1969.

    The “Spaces” concept, essentially multiple desktops, a 2007 addition to OSX was available in 1985 on Amiga OS. A full 22 years later; The Amiga OS implementation is still unbeaten in offering independent resolutions, viewable at once on the same screen.

    Amiga OS in 1985, leveraging its chipset also provided colour and full screen animation, 5 years later MacOS still struggled at providing these features without expensive add on cards.

    Integrated Command Line, programming language in the box, modular libraries, able to handle multiple file systems, system wide file types; even the modern oft cheered visualisation of other operating systems, I was running MacOS System 7 and DOS/Win prior to 1990 in “Spaces”, able to copy and paste and share files both at the same time with Amiga OS still running with multiple apps open.

    System wide interprocess communication and application scripting with AREXX a port of REXX. Uh yeah, what’s it called, automator, yeah, it barely does any apps and not even the whole OS.

    I only begin, but you may start to get the point already.

    In 1986 for $2600US Mac offered up to 4meg, SCSI and 800k floppies, 6 months prior Amiga offered 8meg, SCSI and 880k, full colour, stereo sound and built in output to TV for $1300US.

    John Dvorak in 1996, 11 years after the release of Amiga OS and 12 years after the release of Mac OS declared “The AmigaOS remains one of the great operating systems of the past 20 years, incorporating a small kernel and tremendous multitasking capabilities the likes of which have only recently been developed in OS/2 and Windows NT.”

    Note OS2 and NT, NOT Mac OS.

    The Amiga performed all of this out of the box, on day one in 256k of memory. Amiga OS is often credited as being the most efficient multitasking OS made. It completely revolutionised the industry and it took MS and Apple a decade to even start to catch up.

    I sit here today, writing this on a MacBook Pro LED 07. It has this fine OS that owes a debt to NeXT which owes a debt to Amiga.

    Yes, the Amiga OS, based on UNIX, the first desktop operating system to bring UNIX class services, full blown multimedia and a GUI unmatched for a decade to the every man (in 1985 not 2001, 16 years later with an ass saving by Jobs as OS9 was tanking), just as the Apple II gave computing over to the every man.

    To be honest OSX 10.5.6 it’s mostly as good as Amiga OS, some bits are better, but not everything, I still need two monitors to display two resolutions at once.

    What was Apple’s little law suit frenzy over? Moveable boxes on a screen that overlap each other? Something like that. Yeah… I can see how the Amiga OS was a COPY of the piss poor Mac OS

    I don’t mind your over the top style Dan but you just tried to break the legs of truth and that’s not your style.

    I’d like to see one of your gory in depth articles on the world beating technical and usability features of Amiga OS as recompense for your transgression. And you can add in a couple of paragraphs on the stupidity of senior management and the greed of the know nothing fool Irving Gould who destroyed the company such that a founding hero was unable to step back in and save the day.

    Long live Jack Tramiel and rest peacefully Jay Miner. That young whipper snapper Steve Jobs should tip his hat to his elders. The rest of us should be grateful that Steve took up the mantle, else it would be a dire place indeed.

    I shall now go back to my Mac and peacefully enjoy the fact that all was not lost.

    * thanks to wikipedia and various computer rags for allowing me to refresh my mind on some of the more juicy details from 21 years ago when I purchased one of the first 5 PAL Amiga 1000 in Australia.

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    Another remarkably clear cut through the fudge of popular notions that Apple is the new Microsoft. Great stuff.

    I’d say that broadband and Google really helped the Mac too. It was the prospect of actually being able to go platform agnostic which drew me to the Mac in 2003. Since then, this effect has only become stronger, along with Apple’s careful expansion of its platform to the iPhone.

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  • http://www.cyclelogicpress.com Partners in Grime

    Palm CEO Ed Colligan: “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” :)

  • http://www.geoffrobinson.net geoffrobinson

    The whole patent situation has spiraled out of control. That really needs to be straightened out in a way that protects legitimate innovation without stifling companies.

  • The Mad Hatter


    If you can come up with a definition of “legitimate innovation” that a consensus can agree to, yes. Otherwise the best way to handle the situation is to stop issuing patents. A lot of techies think that the patent problems only impact software. I work in another business, and the problems there are just as bad, but they don’t get as much press.

  • Jesse

    reading those details about the amiga really impressed me. I didn’t realize the system could do all that! So you win there.

    But the minute you claim it had an unmatched GUI you lose me. Inside of half an hour of using Mac’s classic OS, I understood how to use every onscreen widget, and many of the specialized menu commands. I used an Amiga workstation to edit video now and then for years, and I NEVER understood all of the interface conventions.

    The Amiga’s GUI was ugly and counter-intuitive. I’ll grant you, its capabilities were impressive, but its interface conventions were ass.

    Anyway, aside from pointless Amiga-bashing, I contest one of Dan’s minor asides: that Cingular was in trouble before AT&T bought it. AFAIK, Cingular was the #1 provider in terms of subscribers, because they alone offered rollover minutes. It was AT&T who needed the image makeover, having failed miserably at their in-house attempt to become a cell phone service provider.

    I feel I can say this with certainty because around that time I had gone into a cell phone store that used to offer contracts with any provider you wanted, but had changed to offering only Cingular. Why the change, I asked. Cingular made us do it, they said, and added: they now won’t deal with anyone who sells other services in the same store. Cingular had so much more market share that the threat of losing their business outweighed the benefit of having all other carriers combined.

    All told, a very Microsoft-ian move on their part. Slimy, yes, but not evidence of a company in trouble. If you know different, Dan, I’m curious to hear it.

  • http://appleseed-as.blogspot.com/ appleseed.as


    Amiga was and in some areas still is the BEST OS that ever existed. Acorn Archimedes solutions were also giving a run for their money to solutions from Amiga, Atari, Apple and others.

    Still, look all those systems where they are now. Too bad that most of those users jumped into DOS+Windows solutions and still manage to support those fubar solutions as of today. Even worst they do it proudly: “Hey man. I was using Amiga, Atari, etc. but nowadays I love Microsoft’s solutions. Nothing else matters.”


  • http://ideasengine.cytv.com cy_starkman

    @ Jesse

    Interface conventions, well fair enough it was quite different, in fact it was often nearly opposite to convention and MacOS has always been very stream lined. Perhaps that was a requirement to avoid “copying” (lame fan boy excuse).

    I find Windows users complain about that now when trying to use a Mac, they start flailing around a bit because the close gadget is on the left. LOL

  • http://ideasengine.cytv.com cy_starkman

    … it’s metaphor was also more “in the shed” than “in the office”

  • Janus

    @ Jesse

    It really depends on what geographical region of Cingular-cum-AT&T that you’re talking about. Thanks to well-meaning but ill-thought FCC regulations, today’s national carriers are amalgamations of former regional carriers cobbled together into national networks. Depending on the original spectrum and financial endowments of those regional carriers, their networks varied sharply in terms of quality.

    As a general rule of thumb, carriers that had access to one of the 2 850mhz licenses in any area (1 going to the local Baby Bell and the other to another firm) built the better networks compared to those who got the 1900mhz spectrum, both because of the innate superiority of 850mhz and usually because the companies in the position to get the 850mhz license were well-established and well-capitalized.

    In my market (Philadelphia), AT&T/Cingular was the corporate descendent of one of the companies getting 850mhz spectrum (Comcast) and has inherited a very robust network. In other areas (like California), Cingular was from Pac-Bell, which had the horrific 1900mhz legacy network. Meanwhile the original AT&T Wireless had the 850mhz spectrum, but royally botched the TDMA-GSM conversion by overlaying shorter-range GSM1900 equipment on a network designed for 850mhz (wider tower spacing, etc) and so shot ATTWS reputation to the point where it put itself up in a sale, in which Cingular emerged victorious over Vodafone.

  • Janus

    I typed that whole thing on an iPhone. Who needs a mechanical keyboard? ;)

  • stefn

    Daniel, a stylistic note: I like your use of “why not” in your lead paragraph. Consider bringing it into your titling, as, e.g., “Apple’s Tim Cook Did Not Threaten Palm, Here’s Why.” The use of a comma is strained but it encourages referrers to include the last phrase.

    Janus, have you tried WritingPad? It reads by “word shapes” rather than characters. Fabulous. Deserves Apple adoption and a button on its keypad.

  • stefn

    I see I wasn’t clear: I am suggesting, Daniel, that you use it for all of these kinds of articles as a trademark.

  • dallasmay

    I still think the ATT exclusivity is the iPhone’s biggest issue. For one, many people do not have the option of switching to AT&T. If you noticed, the other Marquee smart phones of last year were all exclusives with other brands. T-Mobile had the G1, Verizon had the Storm, now sprint has the Pre. They don’t really compete against each other the same way the iPod competed against P4Sure partners. If you want a smart phone, and you can’t easily switch carriers, you are going to buy the phone that your carrier offers.

    Second, AT&T is itself weary of the iPhone. Apple now has a lot of power over AT&T’s brand -basically, with upper middle class consumers the AT&T==iPhone. This has the possibility to be a bad partnership for AT&T, because it turns the carrier into a dumb pipe. ALL carriers of information are fighting the Dumb Pipe problem, because dumb pipes can only compete on price. It’ll be like the 90’s telephone industry again, where you just see one commercial from AT&T touting 15 ¢/ minute while Sprint follows with 10¢/minute. The Carriers don’t want this.

  • greendave

    Dan, I was hoping you had done some research into the patents – the main reason Apple won’t sue Palm is they don’t hold patents on the multi-touch features that Palm have implemented on the Pre – the ex iPhone/iPod team members at Palm are not exactly stupid.

  • Jesse

    @ Janus

    You obviously know a ton about the issue, and thanks for the low-down. I’m not sure you’re speaking to my point, though. You seem to be talking about the quality of the services offered. I was talking about market share. As a reader of this site, you obviously are well aware of the difference. :)

    Quality of service =/= marketshare of vendor. Cingular kicked everyone’s butt, as I heard it, because of one thing: rollover minutes. Everybody hates tracking minutes.

    And so you’re saying it was Cingular who bought AT&T, not the other way around? The story I heard was that the original AT&T botched cell service so badly that they went up for sale, some German company bought them, then the “new” AT&T needed to get back into the cell game in America, so they bought Cingular. Is that incorrect?

  • Silencio

    Our good friend Rob Enderle spews on the subject of Apple “vs” Palm:


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