Planet13 - 9:40 pm on Mar 1, 2012 (gmt 0)
My pure out of the blue wild guess is that it has more to do with the words in the text surrounding a link.
I think that google is probably relying more on an overall content evaluation of a page, instead of trying to evaluate the immediate text preceding and following an inline text link.
This would probably help reduce a lot of data, and would probably help to leverage whatever info is gleaned from Panda updates (google has stated that they are going to integrate panda more with the other part of the Algo).
again, this is a wild guess, so take it for what it's worth.