Apple reported another blockbuster quarter yesterday (my WinInfo article will be up later today), primarily on the strength of first-wave iPhone 3G sales. But the company also took the rare step of including CEO Steve Jobs on its earnings conference call, and the mercurial aesthete used the opportunity to spread some serious FUD. When Microsoft does stuff like this, the Apple acolytes get up in arms. My guess is that they’ll not only give Jobs a pass (what else is new?) but they’ll celebrate it. There are only one-way streets in Apple-ville.

Here’s what he said, according to ZDNET:

Jobs also dropped the strongest hints yet that if the demand for low-cost laptops, and in particular netbooks, continues to grow, Apple will jump into this market. "The netbook is a nascent category and, best as I can tell, not a lot have been sold," Jobs said. "But we’ll wait and see how that category evolves and we’ve got some pretty interesting ideas if it does evolve."

Ah yes. Pre-announce something that doesn't exist. Cause potential competitors to reconsider entering a market that Jobs himself says is not very financially compelling.

FUD, pure and simple.