(Credit: Sprint)

And carry a big stick! If you’ve been wondering how long Apple’s iPhone was going to be left unchecked by its competition the wondering is over. Sprint broke its aggressive ad campaign this week using a point counter-point strategy – the kind that is not used by the faint of heart. Sprint, with its partner, Palm has a superphone that it believes can go toe-to-toe with Apple’s famous iPhone.

Meanwhile Matt Hickey, who is a freelance writer for Crave reported “…the ad campaign from Sprint is aimed squarely at users of the original iPhone and that Sprint is pointing out that its plans are cheaper than AT&T’s and its new phone can do things Apple’s can’t."

Does any of this surprise you? It actually should since most marketers are reluctant to name their competition and point out their product deficiencies unless they are very sure of themselves or desperate.

Will the new strategy work? Time will tell. But Sprint is off to a good start, having been both diligent in their product comparisons and bold in its campaign against a worthy adversary. With the economy challenging so many, this may be a good time to strike at the higher cost of ownership with Apple and AT&T along with the other product benefits Palm brings – it will certainly require courage to continue. But in the end, perhaps this is a very timely promotion indeed. The market will ultimately decide, as usual.