"Apple have the market share with itunes and the ipod. therefore locking out competitors has now become anti-competitive."
Er, no they don't. Most people out there do NOT own an iPod. Contrary to the Guardianistas and other media luvvies attempts to convince you otherwise, digital music downloads are nowhere near close to traditional CD sales. Even Amazon make more money selling boxed CDs with music etched on them than Apple make from their iTMS. This is in no way, shape or form a "monopoly". Anyone who continues to spout such arrant nonsense needs to get out more.
iTunes Music Store does NOT make a profit. It never has. It's effectively revenue-neutral: The only reason it's there at all is because Apple's overall vision for content is that it's downloaded, rather than distributed on physical media like CDs, so they wanted to provide a complete end-to-end service for buyers of their iPod products.
Apple are *entirely* about vertical, integrated product design. That's the whole damned POINT of Apple's products. To whine that Apple aren't Microsoft or GNU / Linux is to completely misunderstand what Apple *do*.
Apple are a commercial business. They're in this to make *money*, just like Palm, Microsoft and Nokia. None of these companies are charities. They're sure as hell not obliged to support competitors. The ONLY reason Microsoft have been so forced—and I entirely disagree with the EU's actions—is because they've been convicted of having a monopoly in a court of law.
As others have pointed out, Palm could have written a trivial plug-in for iTunes to make their device work pretty much seamlessly with Apple's combined media manager / iPod sync tool. It's not hard. There are plenty of people out there who've even written iTunes plug-ins for free. Hell's bells, even *I* could write an iTunes plug-in! It's not exactly hard.
XML is an *open standard*. AAC (part of the MPEG-4 spec.) is—shock!—an *open standard*. Only some video formats are packaged with DRM, but that's not *Apple's* fault. Like any other similar company, they'd be quite happy not to have to pay support people to deal with DRM-related issues.
Yet Palm have designed their Pre to impersonate an Apple iPod. This means if iTunes tries to do something the Pre doesn't actually support, such as a firmware update or whatever, it's an "iTunes" error message the users will see, not one with a big "Palm" label at the top. So guess who'll be paying support people to field questions about a piece of hardware they don't even make?
Apple have never made any secret of their integrated approach to design. They're the Mercedes or Rolls-Royce of the IT world: they make kit for people who don't care *how* they get from A to B, as long as it's comfortable, doesn't break down and lets them read their copy of The Times in peace while the chauffeur gets on with the driving.
Microsoft are a little more secretive about their real "killer app". (It's Visual Studio, in case you're wondering.) They're all about the developers. The BMW or Ferrari of the IT world. For them, it's all about the *driving*, the power-slides, squeezing the machine until it screams.
GNU / Linux is a sad, mewling ADD-suffering basket-case as far as most normal people are concerned. They're all about the *technology*. The Caterham kit car of the IT world; for them, it's all about what's under the bonnet. Not the journey. Not even the driving itself, but all the grommets, pistons, fanbelts and overhead cams.
(I've written at length on this very subject on my own site here: www.bangbangclick.com. Saves me having to repeat myself.)
Pick the company whose philosophy most closely matches your own, but please, god, stop banging on about how *your* philosophy is the One, True Way. Because there's no such thing.