During Apple's conference call following the release of the company's record financial results, chief operating officer Tim Cook, who is standing in for Steve Jobs during his six month absence for health reasons, made some interesting comments.

When iPhone competition was discussed, Cook said: "We've said from the beginning that software's the key ingredient, and we believe we're years ahead in software development".

Cook continued: "We like competition as long as they don't rip off our IP [intellectual property] - and if they do, we're going to go after anyone who does".

One reporter then asked if Cook was referring to the recently announced Palm Pre, Cook said: "I don't want to talk about any specific company", he said, "I'm just making a general statement".

But then stormed on ahead with the following: "We will not stand for having our IP ripped off - and we will use any weapons that we have available. I don't think I can be any more clear than that".