updated 07:45 pm EST, Tue March 9, 2010
Exec responded with his own threats
Former Sun CEO and president Jonathan Schwartz claims to have received a lawsuit threat several years ago from Apple CEO Steve Jobs. After Schwartz unveiled the prototype Linux desktop titled Project Looking Glass in 2003, Jobs allegedly called to personally notify Sun that its graphical effects were "stepping all over Apple's IP," according to Schwartz's personal blog.
Apple's CEO reportedly warned Schwartz that he would "just sue you" if Sun decided to commercialize the software.
Sun was apparently somewhat prepared for the discussion, having noticed similarities between Keynote and the Lighthouse Design presentation software Concurrence. Lighthouse is said to have developed applications for NeXTSTEP, before being acquired by Sun in the same year that NeXT was bought by Apple.
Schwartz asked, “Steve, I was just watching your last presentation, and Keynote looks identical to Concurrence – do you own that IP? And last time I checked, Mac OS is now built on Unix. I think Sun has a few OS patents, too."
Steve Jobs allegedly fell silent and the issue was never brought up again, although Looking Glass was later abandoned due to other considerations.
Apple has been known to have an aggressive legal team, working to battle against clone makers such as Psystar. The company's most recent legal action was filed against HTC for allegedly infringing on 20 patents relating to technology used on the iPhone.
The Mac maker has not been free of criticism over intellectual property and copyright issues. Delicious Monster developers noticed an uncanny resemblance between their Delicious Library software and iBooks, an app developed by Apple for the iPad. Several other Delicious developers were previously hired by Apple to work on various projects.