Well cabbie... I'm not saying you're wrong. But with great respect for you...
The concept of linking out to a competitor, or to related sites, in order to gain a boost in ranking has been around a long time. The previous moderator of the Link Development forum had a theory about this years ago. The roots of this technique are found in discussions about Hubs [webmasterworld.com] going as far back as at least four years ago.
This thread [webmasterworld.com] featuring a notable GoogleGuy post received a lot of attention and various amounts of interpretation related to hubs, the importance of linking outside of a site, etc.
Here's a post [webmasterworld.com] from January 2003 where someone is alarmed because a competitor is linking to him.
It wouldn't surprise me if experienced hands like Robert_Charlton were discussing these issues way before WebmasterWorld existed. ;)