Apple may sue Palm over iPhone-alike Pre

Apple yesterday announced its financial results for the three months up to Christmas, with record profits of $1.8bn thanks to improved year-on-year sa

Apple yesterday announced its financial results for the three months up to Christmas, with record profits of $1.8bn thanks to improved year-on-year sales of iPhones (4.36m, up 88%), iPods (22.7m, up 3%) and Macs (2.5m, up 9%).

But the most interesting nugget from the announcement came when Apple was asked about rival smartphones - and in particular the multi-touch-toting Palm Pre. Tim Cook, Apple's stand-in boss while Steve Jobs is on his six-month sick leave, left nothing to the imagination: 'We don't mind competition, but if others rip off our intellectual property, we will go after them. 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.'

Certainly the similarities between the Palm Pre and the iPhone are startling - see for yourself in our exclusive video of the Palm Pre. It possibly doesn't help that the Pre's development was overseen by a former Apple exec, Jon Rubinstein - who also poached product development and PR people from Apple.

Steve Jobs made it very clear when he first announced the iPhone that there are 200 patents in iPhone "and we intend to protect them". It's unlikely he'll want to repeat the fiasco of the Apple v Microsoft lawsuit of the late 1980s - let's hope Palm has some decent lawyers.

Read our hands-on with the Palm Pre