In Silicon Valley, PR duels frequently count as bloodsport. Today's throwdown comes courtesy of the fine folks at Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM).

RIM's co-CEO, Jim Balsillie, told Reuters Canada in an interview that Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone isn't a threat: "It's kind of one more entrant into an already very busy space with lots of choice for consumers. But in terms of a sort of a sea-change for BlackBerry, I would think that's overstating it."

There are so many ways in which I love this quote. Let's cover two. First, it's true that the smartphone space is crowded. Palm (NASDAQ:PALM), Nokia (NYSE:NOK), and Motorola (NYSE:MOT) make for an impressive roster of competitors.

Second, it's also true that the iPhone -- which will be released in June -- doesn't yet represent a sea change for RIM. But how could it? Global demand for smartphones rose 42% during 2006. Everyone in this market is winning customers.

So why does Balsillie feel compelled to respond to the iPhone months before there's even a product available to show? Perhaps it's because, given the one-hit wonder that is its proprietary email system, today's RIM looks as vulnerable to me as Apple did 22 years ago.

(Curiously enough, once and future CEO Steve Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985.)

Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers, who is ranked 1,060 out of more than 22,400 in our Motley Fool CAPS investor intelligence database, thinks his wife deserves the best growth stocks. That's why he's a regular contributor to David Gardner's Motley Fool Rule Breakers high-growth stock-picking service. Tim owns shares of Nokia. All of his portfolio holdings can be found at Tim's Fool profile. His thoughts on growth stocks, Foolishness, and investing in general may be found in his blog. Palm is a Stock Advisor pick. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy won't keep you on hold.