In terms of legal risk, this move almost makes me think that Palm is trying to provoke Apple into filing a lawsuit.
Good points in the rest of the article, but I disagree on this. Palm’s recent rhetoric, publicly calling Apple a monopolist at every chance, hints at a different angle.
Palm is calling Apple’s bluff. They’re saying, “Go ahead. Block us. I dare you.”
Blocking a competitor in that fashion could be seen as illegal anti-competitive behavior by a monopoly. Sure, it probably wouldn’t hold up in court. But it would be an expensive ride, and Apple would get tons of bad press along the way — right when Palm, the “good guy”, has a nice new alternative product for the angry people to adopt instead of the evil monopolist’s product.
I bet, in the short term, that Apple won’t block the Pre’s fake-iPod sync mechanism to avoid the shitstorm that Palm would try to create. Apple’s the top dog now, and every pressured journalist and penny-scraping network-blog “reporter” on the planet wants an excuse to prove that they’re evil. The last thing Apple wants to do is give them — or the Department of Justice — anything to shout the M-word about.