Usually when Apple takes a jab at a competitor during the WWDC, it’s a safe bet that Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s Senior VP of Software Engineering, is somewhere close by. But in a change of pace, it was keynote presenter Phil Schiller who delivered a keynote zinger by taking a jab at the just released Palm Pre.
Prior to unveiling the new iPhone 3G S, Schiller proudly announced that the iTunes App Store now has over 50,000 applications available for download. He then brought up a chart to compare the number of available apps for the iPhone and competing platforms.
Going through the list, Schiller mentioned how many apps were each available for Android, Nokia, and Blackberry phones. But when he got to Palm, Schiller didn’t mention them by name and simply said, “and somebody else.. i can’t quite read it it.. it’s small“, before completely moving onto a new topic. Ouch!
Obviously the chart above isn’t a fair comparison as the Pre had just been released 2 days earlier, and it’s not like the iPhone had a booming app store when it first launched. But if you can’t make a joke like that at the WWDC then when can you? The crowd sure ate it up, but it also makes you wonder if Apple is just a tad annoyed that Palm lured a number of former Apple engineers to help it design the Pre, chief among them Jon Rubenstein who will soon be taking over CEO duties over at Palm.
And oh yeah, there’s also that tiny detail about the Palm Pre being able to sync up with iTunes.
A few months ago, John Gruber over at Daring Fireball wrote about the hardening relationship between Palm and Apple.
What I heard last month at Macworld Expo is that Palm has a standing offer for engineers at Apple to jump ship, with a starting salary of 1.5 times their current Apple salary.
Wow. It’s almost like a mini Soap Opera, Silicon Valley style.
<Insert Soap Opera narration here>
Steve Jobs is scheduled for a dramatic return to Apple at the end of June. Meanwhile his longtime partner in crime, Jon Rubenstein, will be assuming CEO duties at Palm in just a few days! The Palm Pre currently syncs up with iTunes, but how long will that last?! Can the Palm Pre give the iPhone a run for its money? Will Bertrand Serlet’s torrid love affair with a RIM employee be exposed?! Find out next week on… As Cupertino Turns.