Why is the Palm Pre Making Apple Tremble?

by Chris Seibold Feb 03, 2009

The most recent revision of iPhone software revealed that a new iPhone model is in the works. That Apple is planning an upgraded iPhone shouldn't really come as a surprise. The iPhone 3G rolled out a year after the original iPhone and expecting a new version of everyone's favorite internet everywhere device to be released sometime this summer seems reasonable. The notion isn't only reasonable from the perspective of the masses of iPhone users foaming at the mouth for a new model, AT&T and Apple have great reasons to roll a new model out. Apple sells more hardware, AT&T gets to lock everyone in to two more years and users get a better iPhone. It's a win, win, win.

Attempting to predict what the next iPhone revision will bring is a foolish exercise. Like every Apple update it will be both less and more than people expect leaving users simultaneously elated and dejected.  For the purposes of this article the guess will be cut and paste (for the sake of convenience only). What will the iPhone CP and bring? Video recording? MMS messages? A slide out virtual keyboard? One thing that is certain is that any revision of the iPhone will have to take on the predictable slew of imitators. Most of the devices that ape the iPhone will fail on the merits of the devices

That there will be iPhone knock-offs is a given. That something will be labeled an "iPhone killer" is also a given. Thus there is no point in playing "guess that iPhone killer" with an unannounced product. As far as what folks know is coming the only thing on the horizon that stands a chance at iPhone displacement is the Palm Pre. That the Palm is being taken as a legitimate competitor to the iPhone seems odd. After all, no one is certain when the Palm Pre will be released or how much the thing will cost. The only thing people are certain of is that the Pre will be tied to Sprint. That isn't the best start if you're Palm. Being tied to Sprint is like being a Philadelphia Eagle fan during the SuperBowl. Sure, you had a nice run but when the big game starts your team isn't on the field

Being tied to Sprint isn't enough to ensure Pre destruction. This could be the phone that takes Sprint from a soon to be afterthought to a major player in the cell phone market right? Well for that to happen the Pre will have to be really, really good. So good that people will trash their Verizon and AT&T contracts and take jump into Sprint land. Oh, and Palm will have to avoid the lawsuits from Apple.

Lawsuits from Apple? That's right. When the iPhone was revealed Steve Jobs said "and oh boy have we patented it." Gee whillikers Steve, I hope you got all the iPhone bases covered by cracky! Steve's line was a throw back to the olden days when people felt that the Mac would've reigned supreme if only Apple had protected the concept better. Nod to the past aside, Apple is sure the company has patented its way to iPhone success and Tim Cook isn't afraid to rattle the lawsuit sabre when the Pre is mentioned.

Once the lawsuit as a business model is brought up, consideration of factors usually ignored becomes crucial. First, you have to consider whether Apple can win the suit. The answer varies depending on where you look. There is "the Palm can't win camp," those that maintain that Palm can't lose and finally the "it isn't really Apple's patent anyway group." Pick your desired outcome and pick the argument that fits best with your scenario and you can sound intelligent no matter which position you take.

Also consider why Apple would bother suing. There are a thousand iPhone clones out there and Apple hasn't unleashed the hounds yet. Someone smart will point out that the reason Apple hasn't loosed the beasts with blood stained claws, an empty conscience and yellow legal pads is because no one has infringed on any patent yet. Doubtful, having a firm legal footing for a lawsuit is great but not necessary if you're goal is to stifle competition. If the goal is just to make would be competitors wary of a corporations intellectual property a semi-frivolous lawsuit is enough to alert people that those that would tread anywhere close to the line of infringement are in danger of calling down the wrath of the legal department. There have been a myriad of opportunities for Apple to start suing and the company hasn't done it yet

Why the sudden interest in suing Palm? Perhaps Apple is seeing the Pre as something to be scared of. That seems to be the most rational reason and the most troubling. The next iteration of the iPhone should leave the Pre looking like it was copying yesterdays news but if the Pre is ahead of the next iPhone then Apple has a serious problem. Palm has done some great stuff but most of the great stuff was back in the 90's. There's no way Palm should be able to out engineer and out market Apple (someone will have to do both to make a legit iPhone killer). The Pre already has strikes against it, all the threats do is make the Pre more desirable. It is the phone Apple doesn't want you to have.

The talk about lawsuits hides a bigger truth. Apple is never going to dominate the mobile market via lawsuits. It didn't work with the Mac (and there was a time Apple was counting on a payoff from Microsoft to keep the company going) and it won't work with the iPhone. To dominate the market, something Apple hasn't done yet with the iPhone, Apple will have to make better stuff than the competition. It sounds simplistic but it is true. There is no magic lawsuit, no way to bully your way to success, the only solution is to build a better device. So far Apple has pulled it off. Sure the iPhone doesn't do video or cut and paste but it is a smartphone that anyone can use and that's a lot more than other phones can say. For now.


  • This is a Catch-22 for Apple.

    If they do not seek legal action now and then down the road try to go after someone doing what Palm has done the judge(s) might ask Apple why they did not seek legal action prior and their credibility could be shot.

    If they do go after Palm and everyone else now then Apple could get the rep of being lawsuit happy and a menace.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing everyone that makes a device that uses Apple’s patents pay a royalty.

    KindredMac had this to say on Feb 03, 2009 Posts: 1
  • For an article on the same subject that’s actually readable, go to http://www.cnbc.com/id/28978246.

    wallydog had this to say on Feb 03, 2009 Posts: 3
  • Patents don’t create success. You can patent a million things the public doesn’t want and not make a penny. Patents can help protect work you do however (this is a concept known as “ownership”). Apple designed and created those things and should be entitled to the benefits. Let Palm invent something of its own.

    Jim Stead had this to say on Feb 03, 2009 Posts: 10
  • “Apple could get the rep of being lawsuit happy and a menace. “

    Too late.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Feb 03, 2009 Posts: 2220
  • “Why the sudden interest in suing Palm?”

    The interest is only in the minds of hit-whore bloggers who come up with pathetic titles like “Why Is The Palm Pre Making Apple Tremble?”

    LorD1776 had this to say on Feb 04, 2009 Posts: 19
  • Upon thinking about your comment LorD1776 I think you are onto something. Not that the title is pathetic or that I’m a hit whore but rather that I’ve confused the statement by Tim Cook with the reaction to the statement by Tim Cook. TIm declined to talk about individual products but, because of the way the question was framed, everyone took it to mean that he was talking about the Pre. I suppose I fell into that trap.

    For that I apologize. Once again, I’m not a hit whore. I only whore myself out for the good stuff. Superbowl tickets, crack, expandable low cost tower Macs…

    Chris Seibold had this to say on Feb 04, 2009 Posts: 354
  • Chris,
    Sorry for the overly harsh tone of my comment. Guess I was having a bad day. I’d be right beside you for the expandable low cost tower Mac.

    LorD1776 had this to say on Feb 05, 2009 Posts: 19
  • no need for apologies LorD1776, I can see how you reached that conclusion. No big deal at all. If it wasn’t a reasonable criticism I wouldn’t have cared at all. But it was a decent criticism so I wanted to let you know I wasn’t going for the hit whore thing.

    Really, this one is my fault.

    Chris Seibold had this to say on Feb 06, 2009 Posts: 354
  • Hey…this is a wonderful website buddy and an informative post!!! i am new here and i found this site very interesting and informative ,, you are a professional blogger i think i have a great interest in such things…thank you for the post buddy and keep on posting nice stuff like this smile i am a student.
    testking PK0-003|testking 000-533|testking 000-152|testking OG0-093|testking 70-643|testking 70-573|testking 70-516|testking 70-294|

    williamrichard611 had this to say on Aug 10, 2011 Posts: 12
  • Page 1 of 1 pages
You need log in, or register, in order to comment