Microsoft used to play such tactics to sabotage competing software vendors. Everyone remembers the slogan, "DOS is not done till DR-DOS wont run". It created the impression that competing software is buggy and not backward compatible while MS products are guaranteed to work smoothly. Those were the days when it could kill companies and startups by merely issuing a press release, "Microsoft is considering a project to do XYZ" and all the venture capital for companies planning to that particular XYZ would instantly vanish. Even established companies would spend so much of their resource keeping upto date with the ever changing GUI and API of MS, and MS would laugh at them and keep changing it and spend its resources to create new features and make it more and more incompatible with the rest.
Now, there may be nothing to the story that iPods are corrupted by Vista. It could be intentional idea deep inside Microsoft skunk works nostalgic about those days. Or may be there is nothing wrong and those who are complaining of Vista corrupting their iPods did something stupid. Or it could be an unintentional bug. It could even be true that MS's update will fix the issues and make iPod really secure. But Apple is doing to MS what MS did to others. By creating the FUD that Vista is deliberately corrupting the beloved iPod, with its 90 million installations, it could put a damper on the speed of adoptation of Vista. All it takes is one top CEO saying, "Dont buy any new laptops for my (fortune 500) company till it is guranteed that my iPod will work flawlessly." Such things will cascade and PC vendors will feel the pressure.
I think Apple is just a Microsoft wannabe. It uses heavy doses of DRM to keep it incompatible with the rest of the world. Microsoft is doing it in the corporate office software market. Apple is doing it in the music business. Both companies engage in FUD. Let us just hope these two battle each other while some other standard complying nice companies emerge to take over computing. Yeah. I must be dreaming.