Apple miffed over faux iPhone icons

The iSaga surrounding Apple's iPhone took another turn over the weekend as the company's lawyers sent out cease and desist letters not only to Web sites hosting iPhone-like theme and icons for Treos, Pocket PCs, and other mobile devices -- but also to bloggers who had merely linked to said sites, according to reports.

Over on XDA-Developer, for example, a user called hanmin posted a Pocket PC screen emulating the iPhone. Soon after, hanmin received a request from Apple's iLawyers that he remove all the "copyrighted materials" from the forum (which he did).

But Apple also sent a cease and desist letter to blogger Paul O'Brien, asking him to remove a link in his blog to the aforementioned forum, as well as a screen image comparing the iPhone screen to the Pocket PC emulation.

O'Brien complied, but posted in his blog: "A bit excessive IMHO... and although I can accept that they can get upset over the screenshot, can they really demand I remove the link too? :-S"

iPhone-esque icons developed for Palm -- called iPhony -- suffered a similar fate over on Brighthand.com. As I write this, though (at around Tuesday, midnight PT), The Unofficial Apple Blog (tuaw.com) still has a link to the forum as well as a screen image posted.

Indeed, Apple may have its work cut out for it if it aims to clamp down on both developers of free iPhone-like icons and themes (such as one currently available for the Sony Ericsson on Atacama.com), as well as blogs that talk about them.

The iPhone emulations, of course, are indicative of just how popular Apple's technology is -- both in look and functionality. Perhaps the company could take that emulation as a high form of flattery, rather than a cause for saber rattling. After all, we're not talking about other companies cranking out arguably cheap knock-offs of Apple wares here. I really don't see this costing Apple anything.

Now, as to Apple's attack on blogs that are doing nothing more than reporting the news, well, we all know what happened the last time the company attempted to stifle the blogosphere.

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