back to article Palm slams Apple, hoodwinks iTunes

Palm has filed a complaint with an industry group that monitors USB standards, claiming that Apple is "hampering competition" by locking the Palm Pre out of iTunes. The same complaint also reveals details of how the Pre tricks iTunes into thinking it's an iPod. At issue is the tussle between Apple and Palm over the Palm Pre's …


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  1. MacRat

    Palm is the Problem

    "Palm contends that it has the right to use Apple's Vendor ID to fool iTunes into thinking the Pre is an iPod."

    An example of why Palm is the problem and trying to be sneaky.

    If they want to sync with the iTunes library, they can build an app to do it just has Blackberry has done.

  2. Ke

    Barking up the wrong tree.

    So Palm have essentially admitted to breaking the USB standard which I assume they agreed to when licensing USB tech. What havoc does this play with other software? Am I correct in assuming that when you plug a Pre into an XP box it also shows an iPod as connected?

    The only reason I use iTunes is because I have Apple products - otherwise I wouldn't bother, it's slow and bloated. In a way it's surprising that Palm are trying so hard to get into that arena - why not work with Amazon or someone similar to develop a competitor?

  3. Brett Brennan 1

    It's not about media sync

    Rather, it's about the fact that iTunes is the defacto media APPLICATION for a majority of users.

    Microsoft's Media Player USED to be the defacto standard for playing media - until the iPod and iTunes showed up. Since iTunes got the world to thinking that 99 cent songs was the "right price", rather than the paltry catalogs of the media companies or the unlimited but shady P2P download sites, it became the place for people to buy music and manage their collections.

    And THAT is the issue Palm has with iTunes. Media sync alone would be a justified lock-out, but with Apple controlling the media PLAYER as well as the storage of user media, this becomes a restraint of trade issue.

    Yes, there are other players that "fool" iTunes into letting them work with the service, albeit in a less than integrated manner. Palm, however, has taken Apple to task on what it REALLY is doing: forcing consumers to use its products.

    I personally have no problem with Apple doing this: after all, they made the investment and suffered all the jokes and jeers when iTunes was launched. If this is for Apple devices only, so be it. Remember, Apple only reluctantly created a version of iTunes for Windows. And has NEVER created one for Linux.

    If Microsoft had tried to make Media Player only work with Zune, regardless of Zune's success, it would have been up in front of the DOJ in hours for restraint of trade. If Apple is doing the same thing, and has a significant enough market share to sway a consumer by ransoming a consumer's purchases to only Apple products, then let Palm fight it out with them.

    Maybe Palm is the Opera of the US - maybe we'll see Apple give you a choice of music player as part of a consent decree.

    Or maybe not...

  4. Steen Hive

    It's not what, exactly?

    "From where we sit, however, Palm doesn't have the right to tweak its iPhone competitor to make it pretend to be something it's not."

    Well duh, it's not pretending to be an iPhone, it's declaring itself iTunes/iPhone-compatible.

    What next? Safari only browsing apple-designed websites? Apple computers not talking to non-Apple gear over TCP/IP either?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We've heard this before

    "What next? Safari only browsing apple-designed websites?" - Err, you mean like the Explorer only websites MS used to operate?

    Big dominant company does technology lock-in. Competitor with parasitic business model gets upset. People with short-term memories get excited.

    IBM = Microsoft = Apple = etc

  6. R.E.H.
    Thumb Down

    Don't have the right according to who?

    "From where we sit, however, Palm doesn't have the right to tweak its iPhone competitor to make it pretend to be something it's not."

    The hell they don't. It's just bits, ones and zeroes, and not even particularly interesting ones or zeroes. It's a vendor ID field, _a number_.

    If they want to tweak it to claim to be 7, 42, or the square root of 2, more power to them.

  7. Bob 18
    Thumb Down

    It's your computer, not Apple's

    OK... you bought a PC or Mac, you put iTunes on it, you bought the music that you loaded into iTunes. YOU have a right to use any music player you like to load YOUR music from YOUR computer onto YOUR mp3 player, to listen to in accordance with Copyright laws.

    Sorry... Apple does not have the right to tell users what they can or cannot plug into iTunes. If you don't like what Palm is doing... then don't by a Palm. It's that simple.

  8. windywoo
    Jobs Horns

    If MS had locked people out of their media player the outcry would be huge.

    Yet Apple lock competitors out of their media library and all their fans get up in arms when its broken. In fact, iTunes does sync with a few ancient devices from the pre-iPod days. Devices post iPod are out of luck. Its their selectiveness which reveals Apple's true colours.

    Its all very well to say companies should write their own software, but what does this lead to? Cluttered hard drives as every mobile phone, music device or vacuum cleaner installs its own software, often with its own system tray icon, startup object and bloated interface. Consumers need to learn a new set of rules every time they buy a new phone. Its hard enough to teach my dad how to use his new phone, let alone get him to use the software it comes with,

    Apple picks and choose the circumstances when it will play ball. OSX will work fine with other routers than the Airstation because Apple know they would be fucked otherwise. Somehow people consider it acceptable for them to lock other devices out of iTunes.

  9. Jeff Paffett
    Thumb Down

    Strange behaviour

    To me Palm are acting very strangely in this. If they want to sell a product that interoperates with another manufacturers software and make that interoperability a selling point, they need to reach an agreement with the software manufacturer. Fat chance as it's Apple.

    Whether or not we agree with Apple's policies regarding iTunes/iPod is not the issue here. Palm are being irresponsible in trying to piggyback on another company's success without reaching an agreement with them.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DeFacto Standard?

    Real Networks was the defacto standard before Microsoft used its brute force to keep that App off of windows desktops and thereby kill it. Microsoft would have killed iTunes and the iPod but they couldn't. But back to the subject at hand ---

    Vendor ID fields are for the use of the vendor so I really don't see how this protest makes any sense. In this case, recognition of an iPod is to allow iTunes to automatically synchronize with it and not with some other random USB device that one happens to plug-in. I suppose it could query all devices of a certain class for an iTunes userid and password but this activity is properly done at a higher level.......... Barring that, Apple would have to start registering and testing with other devices. Apparently Palm wants this done on someone else's dime to protect their bottom line?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Stop whining Palm!

    We were getting away with doing something slightly iffy 'cos we didn't want to write our own app, we wanted to ride on someone else's work for nothing and we didn't want to pay to do it. We have now been found out that we have been doing something iffy on the sly and Apple have shut us out.

    Well boo hoo, cry me a river!

    The iPhone stole your hardware market, now you can't stop complaining, sad yes, but you had the opportunity to keep up and you blew it with that awful Treo crap several years back.

    I think iTunes if the worst media app I have ever used, but Apple do own it, it's not the only media app out there, Windows has a plethora of media apps that can control files. Archos licensed someone else's, most companies try to get in on iTune, but a lot simply can't be bothered and either give standard filesystem transfer support over USB or they write their own media apps.

    You had a free ride for ages and now the party's over and you don't like it! Tough! Try living in the Linux world where no one gives you anything and your lucky if you can buy a device and it works with your PC within the first week of plugging it in! I'm not complaining, I chose my O/S I live it and it's lack of some things, I made my bed, I lie in it, you clear off and lie in yours!!

  12. Antidisestablishmentarianist
    Jobs Halo

    @It's your computer, not Apple's

    @Bob 18.

    Since iTunes went DRM free, I don't see anything stopping you putting that music on any mp3 player you choose. iTunes doesn't encrypt all music into it's library into some unreachable binary you know. You can go search through your file directory, pull out the music and drag it onto your mp3 player. Real simple stuff yes?

    So you must be getting upset about iTunes 'the music organiser' only allowing handy syncing with Apple products? Dude, that's just lame lame lame. Why doesn't someone just write another music organiser that can read the iTunes library (like Palm) and sync with any old mp3 player?......

    Oh wait - I know. Because then you'd need one app to download the music and then another to sync it on your mp3 player. Not very efficient is it. A bit...lame. So instead people are wanting to leverage (for free in Palm's case) off Apples hard work.


  13. lebeau

    Really? You side with apple?

    Seems to me that when someone uses Zeroes and Ones to make their hardware capable something it could do before is good firmware programming. Using Zeroes and Ones to prevent software from doing something legal the users want that they could do yesterday is dickish. If Apple doesn't want to honor the spirit of standards, why should palm honor the letter (in situations where it isn't legally binding)? In short, screw Apple for once again trying to tell me what I can and can't do with my devices. But to be fair, I also would never buy a Palm. Equal opportunity hate monger here.

  14. Robert Oakes
    Jobs Halo

    Go Apple.....

    Good for Apple, if the Palm was a person impersonating another person, would it not be fraud?

    Apple built/own iTunes to work with originally the iPod, another Apple owned device, therefore should not Apple have the right to restrict which device synch with the program. I have no issue with the Palm entering the media sector, but to simply ride on the back of another companies hard earned succes......

    What next, stealing the iPhone OS and stick a Palm logo onto it, does not make it your OS!

  15. ratfox Silver badge

    Pissed off

    Yes, it's Apple's product... They want to choose what devices work with it... They want to lock out competition... It is their right, apparently. Perhaps.

    Apple might have the right to do all that. I still get royally pissed off that they restrict on purpose the usefulness of their products. It is hard enough to get computers to do what you want without having these people working against you. It reminds me of DVD region codes.

    BTW, here is the description of the latest version of iTunes:

    "iTunes 8.2.1 [...] addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices."

    They would not say "will not synchronize with non-Apple devices any more". They know people would get pissed off. I cannot help feeling it would be more honest.

  16. nobby


    We had to guess this yes?

    Lets see - this is the number of serial killers who own an iPod?

  17. Chris Beach

    Go Palm

    tbh I think this suggests more that iTunes the store must be in bad shape, and needs the hardware ties to keep it going. Otherwise why wouldn't Apple want to make more money selling tunes to Pre or any other phone users?

  18. ian mccallion

    Against EC rules

    IIRC, the European Community many years ago passed a law intended to curb monopolistic behaviour by IBM, that said interfaces between separate products from the same company had to be open to allow competition at the product level.

    So Palm could complain to the EC that Apple is breaking this law and abusing its monopolistic position in changing the iTunes- to Pod interface to unfairly benefit the iPod.

    Hard to imagine it would ever come to court, but maybe it would discourage Apple from continuing the dance to its logical conclusion, where the player has to know a secret key in order to be accepted by iTunes.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    uTorrent + Explorer

    Much easier and less bloaty !

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Avoid the dark side?

    C'mon Apple. Play the game.

    It seems only fair that iTunes and Palm play as nicely as iTunes and Apple products.

    For a start it embeds iTunes as a de facto tool and seems a reasonable platform for third parties?

  21. Aaron Scully

    Palm has a point

    I'm with Palm on this one. Other than locking consumers in (anti competitive behaviour), there's no technical reason for Apple doing this. So why should laws, such as copyright laws protect Apple when they carry on like this. They obviously don't have a great belief in their own overpriced iPods.

  22. NRT

    This is standard practice.

    Years ago Digital Research discovered that DRDos ran better if it identified itself as MSDos. When I wish to see an I.E. only web site I tell my browser to lie, this is widely done and often works.

    Now Palm does the same thing & there is an outcry from some people. Why?


  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you play with other people's toys

    don't run crying to mummy when they take them away.

    Palm needs to go home and write its own media management software that does a better job than iTunes

  24. Bilgepipe

    @Bob 18

    "Sorry... Apple does not have the right to tell users what they can or cannot plug into iTunes."

    No, you're wrong, that's /exactly/ what they have. We're not talking about a web browser (f*cking stupid analogy), iTunes is *Apple's* music software for syncing *Apple's* music players. If you want to sync a non-Apple device, use the provided non-Apple software. Oh wait, Palm is too lazy/incompetent to write it, so they break USB protocol and hijack another vendor's ID, then wave their arms around just to get in the media.

    Whether the tedious anti-Apple brigade like it or not, Apple are perfectly within their rights to modify THEIR software to work with THEIR devices only. Much as I like Palm, they deserve to fail for this childish behaviour, and I hope the USB-IF kicks them off for their actions.

  25. Adam Williamson 1


    Wow, there's some massive stupidity going on in these comments.

    Stupid argument #1: Palm just wants to use 'Apple's hard work'. yeah, because writing a mediocre music library app is just SO much hard work. Out of all the zillions that were undoubtedly spent developing the Pre, Palm couldn't spare a few dimes to write a music sync tool. Yeah, right, pull the other one. If Palm wouldn't be at a disadvantage in that situation, that's just what they'd do. The problem is that Apple has abused its dominance in the _hardware_ music player market (iPods) to create an effective monopoly in the _software_ music player market. In simple terms, lots and lots of people - including lots and lots of the Pre's potential customer base - use iPods, and hence use iTunes (since Apple do their damnedest to stop the iPod working with any other application, to preserve this monopoly situation). If these people have to use a different application to synchronize their music with a Pre, the Pre is at a clear disadvantage compared to the iPod - which is a comparison lots of customers are going to have to make. Because of Apple's artificially created dominance of the software music player domain with iTunes, the Pre has to work with iTunes or it's at a clear disadvantage compared to devices that do. (Who thinks of Blackberries as good multimedia devices? Anyone? Bueller?)

    Stupid argument #2: "Vendor ID fields are for the use of the vendor so I really don't see how this protest makes any sense. In this case, recognition of an iPod is to allow iTunes to automatically synchronize with it and not with some other random USB device that one happens to plug-in. I suppose it could query all devices of a certain class for an iTunes userid and password but this activity is properly done at a higher level.......... Barring that, Apple would have to start registering and testing with other devices. Apparently Palm wants this done on someone else's dime to protect their bottom line?"

    Wow, that's just wrong on every level. The whole point is that Palm initially shipped the Pre set up such that it worked fine with iTunes without _having_ to fake any USB IDs. Then Apple shipped an iTunes update which specifically identifies the Pre - using its correct USB ID - and refuses to work with it, despite the fact it would work fine if Apple didn't specifically prevent it from working. The iTunes doesn't 'recognize iPods', exactly. It recognizes Pres, expressly in order to artificially prevent them from working. No-one is asking Apple to 'test' iTunes with non-Apple hardware, just not to artificially prevent it from working where it otherwise would.

    It's fairly easy to see what the situation _ought_ to be. If you look at a place where there's a remotely functional market for music player software - on Linux - you'd quickly note that all the applications (whose authors aren't busy trying to prop up their artificially created monopolies) make significant efforts to work with as _many_ hardware players as possible. The ludicrous situation of a dominant software music player which works as hard as possible _not_ to work with most hardware devices can only come about when you have someone abusing their market position. As others have pointed out, if Microsoft had done this, the world would be down on them like a ton of bricks. But Apple can do no wrong, apparently.

  26. Piers

    Technical point...

    The iTunes library info is stored in an XML file. I have DJ software that gives me access to the iTunes music, playlists etc through this file. It wasn't blocked by the iTunes update (I checked...). Palm could have easily written a simple synch app that did this and now that iTunes is DRM free everything would work as expected. But no - they want to do things differently and are prepared to mess with the USB standard. Did they REALLY think that making their phone pretend to be an iPod wasn't going to cause some kind of trouble? *sigh*

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You what ????

    From where we sit, however, Palm doesn't have the right to tweak its iPhone competitor to make it pretend to be something it's not.

    Fanboi ?

    You mean Apple do not have the right to block function in other devices unless they are trying to force you to buy their over priced products.

  28. John Sanders
    Paris Hilton

    Reality distortion field

    It is the law of the funnel, the big wide end is for Apple, the narrow end is for Palm.

    What Palm was doing was not wrong, not immoral and not Illegal, not even cheeky.

    I know of nobody who uses Itunes that has entered a lot of metadata and would like to lose it.

    Suppose that tomorrow someone rather than Apple makes a nice device you have to have, now you need another bloated clunky mediaplayer stuck on the guts of your computer... good luck keeping both devices in sync.

    I do agree on the fact that apple doesn not have to run any compatibility checks or anything, but should not sabotage others making compatible devices.

    What would happen if MS tried to actively block third party clients from accessing Exchange?

    Apple did not invent the mp3 player. Microsoft did not invent Email. IMHO Apple is short sighted in this one.

    Paris, because she's not stopping other women to dye their hair blonde.

  29. NATO
    Jobs Halo

    Freeloading off iTunes eh?

    As an Apple fan, and as much as some of Apple's business decisions irate me I support Apple on this one. Apple hasn't developed iTunes to be an open application for any and all MP3 players to hook into, it's designed to be the software counterpart for the iPod/iPhone. If you use an iPod, you use iTunes and vice versa.

    Palm are just having a little hissy fit because they thought they could get away with just hooking into iTunes and expecting Apple to be okay with it. If they're really annoyed with the way an iPod identifies itself via USB then I'm sure Apple could quite happily use some sort of authentication chip similar to how they do with their Macs.

    I definitely think Palm are clutching at straws, complaining to the USB industry group claiming Apple are restricting competition is a bit of a nonsense. Why not develop their own software to compete with iTunes? Wouldn't that be furthering competition? Oh wait, that would mean they'd actually have to develop the software rather than freeloading off iTunes...

  30. AF

    @ Bob 18

    "Sorry... Apple does not have the right to tell users what they can or cannot plug into iTunes."

    I'd disagree that Apple can't tell you what you can or can't connect to iTunes - they wrote the app, so they can tell you that you're only allowed to plug in a hairdryer if they want to.

    If you want to have full control, go write your own music management app. Don't get all whiny because someone else spends time and money developing a rather good all-in-one library/musicstore app and has the temerity to say "It only works with our players".

    " If you don't like what Palm is doing... then don't by a Palm. It's that simple."

    And if you don't like what Apple is doing, don't use iTunes.

  31. John Square


    "YOU have a right to use any music player you like to load YOUR music from YOUR computer onto YOUR mp3 player"

    Hooray! YOU'RE right, Bobbo!

    However, if YOU choose to use an iPod, YOU have to accept the limits of the design of THEIR system (i.e. iTunes software plus iPod hardware).

    Why should Apple make iTunes compatible with everything else out there? Is this some sort of method you've come up with to heavily penalise anyone who comes up with a popular product? As soon as it becomes market leader, you have to give it away for your competitors to use in their systems (systems being your software+their hardware)? Why should you give up (for free!) an asset you spent cash developing to make some other persons life easier?

    Your last sentence should read "So Apple does have the right to tell *competitors* what they can or cannot plug into iTunes." It should read that because iTunes is theirs- not Palm's, not MS's and definitely not YOURS.

  32. DrXym Silver badge

    Both sides are right

    Apple probably don't like helping freeloaders but at the same time, iTMS enjoys a stranglehold on the desktop so why shouldn't Palm reverse engineer their device to support it. Palm aren't doing anything illegal, and the fact that Apple must shut them out demonstrates that it is Apple which is causing deliberate incompatibility.

    Personally I think Palm should continue what it's doing but encourage users to move over to Songbird. In fact, encourage other vendors to do likewise. Songbird is better than iTMS anyway and so functionally similar nobody would be missing out by moving.

  33. Pabs


    iTunes - Don't use it and never will

    iPhone - Don't have one, and never will

    Palm Pre - Thought about this, but now after this report of tom foolery I won't get one.

    Nokia 5800 - Yip that's the one I'll get....

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Alternative way

    Rather than mess with the hardware (or software running on the hardware) why not change the driver to the USB device with a little control panel that can control/filter the info returned to a calling device. A lot simpler to upgrade for Palm (3rd party) and no destructive changes to the device that would make it look different to other devices that want to talk to it as a Pre.

    Paris - 'cus I bet she know a lot about inserting devices.

  35. James Hughes 1
    Thumb Up

    @Adam Wilkinson

    Yeah, what you said.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    About time for Opera

    To start slamming them for not including a choice of browsers as well.

    Let's be honest though, with Apple having less than 5% market share Palm are not missing many users.

  37. Apocalypse Later

    If you care about iTunes even a little bit....

    ...then you are forever lost.

  38. Andrew 31

    It will break one day anyhow

    Would you rather that Apple broke it deliberately now, or accidentally later? When a substantial number of people are using it. Perhaps in a way that corrupts data.

    The world would be better if Apple had used a published standard for their iPod sync - but since they didn't, Palm are onto a loser's game trying to hitch on the back of a proprietary protocol. They may have it working today, but the only way for this to be reliable is if they expect Apple to put QA time into ensuring that all future changes also work correctly - which is just unreasonable even if Apple weren't expressly out to stop them. Give up already, and develop a media player / sync utility alongside some competitor's store such as Amazon.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Apple are the criminal

    IBM tried vendor lock-in .. people were driven to rebel against them because of the price differential.

    Here, Apple are locking other vendors out but there IS no significant price differential to drive consumers to complain.

    If there WAS a significant price differential, you can bet your pretty behind that consumers would be screaming.

    Do Apple have the right to lock people in to their systems? Yes. Do people have the legal right to jail break those systems? At present; No.

    Should Palm begin an i-tunes of their own free of DRM and able to synch with any device on the market and advertise it to the world? Hell yes.

    So the real argument that will underpin this whole thing is whether music vendors with large back catalogues have the power to ink exclusive deals with distributors. Hell no. It is as anti-competative as locking a particular mobile phone to a single network provider.

    Palm have a battle on their hands, certainly, but once a service goes open, then it really has the capability to bring lock-in services like Apple, down to their knees and back to a level playing field.

    It will happen with the mobile apps market as well. The result of the Apple lock-out of Google will be closely watched.

    It is only a matter of time.

  40. Magnus Ramage

    USB drives?

    Unless iTunes has changed a lot since I last used it, it's a trivial matter to use iTunes for downloading whatever media you like, then connecting your MP3 player as a USB drive and copying across what you want on it. But then people believe (via Apple marketing) that the only way to get stuff out of iTunes is to synchronising an entire music library to an iPod. And actually the older Palm PDAs didn't really act as USB drives themselves (apart from a couple of models), insisting on working via helper applications and the HotSync thing, so the model's not so very different. So have Palm disabled USB drive functionality on the Pre as well?

  41. xsquared_uk


    Back in the day, when people still used weird software like Musicmatch and had odd MP3 players that didn't sync properly unless it was a neap tide, a company called Apple came along and realised that instead of being a whiny little bitch and complaining about it, it might be a good idea to do it better instead. So they did. Not to promote global peace and harmony, not to aid the development of standards, but quite simply to make sure that if someone bought one of their music players and connected it to their computer using their software then it should work as expected - the theory being that people might actually pay for this privilege. Kinda worked, didn't it? That's why they're rich and you're not. So Palm, by all means complain about this but you can hardly wave the flag of standards adherence when you're breaking fundamental ones yourselves. All that does is save Apple the bother of having to find the rope to hang you with. Make a deal with them, or make your own software. That's what they had to do, and it probably saved the company. Might stop you guys going down the pan if you had an idea of your own to get behind...?

  42. The BigYin


    This is why they are important - no lock-in. So long as an application/device complies with the standards then it will work. If an application or device actively blocks, then it is not in compliance with the standards. And in this case Apple have pulled a typical MS trick.

    iTunes won't work with your hardware? Boo-hoo. Drop iTunes then, it's not the only game in town.

  43. Robbie Bain

    Seems pretty simple...

    You buy an iPod, you use iTnues to manage it... How is this different from any other company's software packages that support their hardware devices?

    Can I manage my iPod with Palm's music management software? Oh, wait... they haven't got any.

  44. Subban
    Thumb Down

    And if M$ did this with Zune...

    "From where we sit, however, Palm doesn't have the right to tweak its iPhone competitor to make it pretend to be something it's not."

    If microsoft had done this with Zune and Media Player, your article would of course been identical defending the poor Microsofties thier right to look after their own interests and position.

    I don't flipping think so. Their would have been a shit storm.

  45. Peter Richard
    Thumb Down

    Theft of Services

    I made a copy of your key said Palm, now I can enter your home anytime I want. However, I'm not a thief, I leave coins on the counter for everything I take., the only things I am borrowing is your time, reputation and fame.

  46. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Breaching USB Standards ?

    I'm not sure where in the USB standards it says an application cannot use the VID, PID or anything else to determine if that application will interact with a connected device. So while Palm have legitimate complaint they are being locked-out I cannot see what the USB group can do about what happens outside their domain.

    OTOH, Palm are likely breaching the USB standards and/or licensing by using descriptors with a VID which is allocated to Apple - though I'd argue doing so for legitimate reasons. It's really no different than using a user-agent string in a browser to make it appear as something else.

    The big issue is whether Apple, Microsoft, Palm or anyone has any legitimate right to lock someone else's product out of their applications. Palm should fight the big issue as this 'flank attack' approach will get them nowhere - Apple will simply introduce an alternative mechanism compliant with USB standards ( if they aren't already ) to identify which are their devices.

    It will be a pyrrhic victory for Palm at best, and quite possible ( likely IMO ) that the USB group will criticise Palm for using another companies VID while finding Apple fully compliant with USB standards.

  47. RichyS
    Jobs Halo

    So many armchair experts

    What is all this talk of 'rights' and 'illegal' this and that? Most of the commentards here really do not know what they are talking about.

    Palm license USB. As such they have made some legally binding commitments to follow the standard. This includes not putting in false information in certain fields, such as VendorID. In this respect, they are in breach of the licensing agreement, and could (though almost certainly won't) have it withdrawn.

    People ask what if MS did this with the Zune? Well, they did. For some reason MS came out with a special version of WMP that only worked with the Zune. No idea why, but they did. No-one really complained. Similarly, with Exchange (re. John Saunders), anyone wanting to sell an Exchange client must license the Exchange technology from Microsoft.

    Apple are not stopping you doing whatever you want with your DRM free music. It's all there stored as open MP3 or AAC (Advanced Audi Codec -- owned and licensed by the MPEG group. Nothing to do with being Apple proprietary -- Lossless AAC is another matter). The meta data is stored in the file as ID3 tags -- not in any proprietary Apple database. Again -- sync/move any of these files to a music playing device, and they'll work (I do it quite frequently with my SE phone for when I don't want to take my iPod. Running, for example).

    At the end of the day, it's Apple's software, and they can stop devices pretending to be iPods working with it. If Palm want to play nice with iTunes, they should speak nicely to Apple. I'm not sure if it will work, but it evidently did some time ago for Creative and a few others.

    Personally, I think Apple are being short-sighted in not letting certain other media devices sync with iTunes. But then what do I know compared to Apple? They seem to be doing alright at the moment!

    Saint Stephen of Jobs, for obvious reasons...

  48. Jess

    Palm shouldn't fake identity by default.

    But I think providing an app that does it would be fair enough. (The fake settings shouldn't survive a restart of the device though)

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Adam Williams

    Palm did use a fake USB ID in the first version of their release software. Not once has their phone identified itself correctly to any computer hardware as being a Palm Pré. Since its release the Pré was designed to appear to the computer as an iPod, and not a Pré. Violation of the USB spec no. 1.

    When Apple updated iTunes to require that hardware be identified as an Apple iProduct to work with their software, Palm then updated WebOS to identify the Pré to the computer not just as an iPod but as an "Apple iPod". Violation of the USB spec no. 2.

    There is simply nothing that can justify Palm behaving like a bunch of dicks in this, and that includes childish business behaviours from Apple. Palm are completely, utterly, totally out-of-line and nothing they say or do is going to change that. Nothing moronic like your post is going to change it either.

  50. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    Steve's evil empire

    The legal action in Norway and the EU illustrate that Apple's position is anti-competitive. iTunes is not part of the iPod product range but available separately as software promoted as allowing users manage their digital media library. By actively preventing other companies from hooking their hardware into the software Apple is acting in an anti-competitive manner.

    The only weird thing is why Palm is approaching the industry body. Far better to jump on the existing legal action in Europe. Let the commission set a precedent and the rest of the world will follow suit.

    @Mr. Myslweski: get out of Steve's butthole on this.


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