HP derides BlackBerry PlayBook OS as a 'fast imitation' of webOS, RIM says it's just good UI design

It's not rare to hear talk of other operating systems employing webOS-like elements -- we've been asking to see its elegant notification system in iOS for years -- but RIM's BlackBerry Playbook borrows so heavily from the UI concepts of the software built by Palm and now owned by HP that it could easily be confused for a webOS tablet. It handles multiple concurrent applications using a card view and allows you to shut down unwanted apps by swiping them off the screen, a multitasking implementation that exhibits "uncanny similarities" in HP's eyes to its own TouchPad tablet. Still, the Hewlett Packard team insist that they're focused on their own products and will "keep innovating, we'll keep honing and those guys hopefully will continue to see the value in it and keep following us by about a year." Ouch.

RIM's response, as espoused by Jeff McDowell, has been to say that "when you're trying to optimize user experience that juggles multitasking, multiple apps open at once and on a small screen, you're going to get people landing on similar kinds of designs." This essentially sidesteps the issue by throwing a subtle compliment HP's way, but it brings up an interesting question -- shouldn't companies aim to make the best software possible, in spite of it potentially looking like a ripoff of someone else's work?