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I do believe that for violation of the terms of the USB contract, the only thing at stake is being able to claim that your device is USB compliant, and to be able to use the USB logo. So as long as Palm doesn't care that it's officially USB compliant, they could unilaterally withdraw from its obligations under that contract, which I believe they would be able to do in a completely ethical way.
I might be misunderstanding the complete terms of the agreement with the USB consortium, but I that's my contribution to the debate.
As for making a device that "pretends" to be another device, I don't think that's unethical at all. Have you ever used a universal remote? Is there anything wrong with that? How much do you want to be that Sony wishes it could force you to buy new remotes from them only?
But I do agree with you 100% that Apple has reached the point where their iTunes and iPod market share have qualified them as a bona fide monopoly, and that therefore their competitors qualify for some consideration and protection under anti-trust law. I agree with the main thrust of your thesis that Palm should have pressed its case in the courts instead of with a tit for tat game. Edited 2009-07-25 05:18 UTC