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Palm to be sued over multi-touch?

Posted: 23 Jan 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:multi-touch interface  smartphone  iPhone  intellectual property 

Without mentioning any names, Apple Inc.'s chief operating officer Tim Cook rattled his legal saber in the direction of Palm Inc.

Palm previewed its latest smartphone, the Pre, to generally positive reviews at the Consumer Electronics Show. The phone sports a multi-touch interface similar to the one on the iPhone which Apple has said is protected by patents on the technique.

Cook made no direct mention of Pam or the Pre in a conference call on the company's quarterly earnings. However, he did draw a line in the sand about intellectual property in response to a question from one financial analyst.

"I don't want to talk about any specific company, but in general competition makes us all better and we will suit up and go against anyone," said Cook. "However we will not stand for having our IP ripped off, and we will use any weapons at our disposal. I don't know if I can be any more clear on that," he said.

Cooks explained that Apple views its iPhone "as a software platform business" that is made valuable by code written by Apple and third party application developers. "We think the software is the key ingredient," he added.

Brian Marshall, a financial analyst with Broadpoint. AmTech said he took Cook's response as a shot across Palm's bow. "That's who they seem to have in their sights," Marshall said.

As part of a restructuring, Palm hired the former head of Apple's iPod division, Jon Rubenstein, to help revitalise the company. The Pre is Palm's first product under his leadership and will ship later this year.

-Rick Merritt
EE Times

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