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
    Megaphone

    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
    Pirate

    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
    FAIL

    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
    Flame

    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.

    It's.....sniff....so...unfaiiiiiir...waaaaaa.....waaaaahhhh

  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
    Flame

    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
    Joke

    iSerialNumber

    We had to guess this yes?

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

  17. Chris Beach
    Go

    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
    Grenade

    uTorrent + Explorer

    Much easier and less bloaty !

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    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?

    Nick.

  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
    FAIL

    @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
    Stop

    Idiots

    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
    Boffin

    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
    Stop

    @Bob18

    "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

    well...

    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
    Stop

    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
    Grenade

    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
    Terminator

    Sheesh

    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
    Stop

    Standards

    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
    FAIL

    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
    FAIL

    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.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re:

    "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"

    So following that bit of reasoning, it should be okay for Microsoft to tell you what you can and can not use with Windows, as it is a piece of software that they wrote.

  52. McBread

    "I'm sorry...

    ..this car only runs on Ford tyres. Please take it to your local Ford dealer."

    Apple don't have to like it, or cooperate, but equally it's perfectly fine for Palm to make theie hardware work in place of an ipod. You might as well claim it's wrong to open a .DOC in anything other than Word, to refill printer cartridges, ...

  53. markfiend
    Jobs Horns

    You buy an iPod, you use iTunes to manage it...

    And then when your Mac's HD dies, your iTunes library goes with it, and the next time you connect your iPod it gets wiped too. >:-(

    I was one of the lucky ones. I had backed up the 30+ GB of music I'd put on my iPod (yes, legally) onto an external HD. How many people bother to do that?

  54. Julian Bond
    WTF?

    P4S, NJB, USB

    The Pre could use Winamp and Microsoft's P4S, NJB or plain old USB mass storage. Oh. Wait. no Winamp on a Mac without parallels and XP/Vista.

    The real problem here is that a commercial bit of software from a vendor with a long history of lock in has become the market leader. And they have a vested interest in maintaining the lock in. It would be better for all of us if the market leader was an open system with no hardware/software manufacturng ties. Then the software developers would be striving to work with everything rather than limiting themselves to work with only one thing.

    This whole area is so silly. USB mass storage with XSPF as the database would work fine and it would be easy for everyone to support. We really don't need proprietary formats for what is actually a very simple computing problem.

  55. James R Grinter

    iTunes and iTunes

    I just wish that everyone would remember that there's two things commonly called "iTunes".

    There's iTunes, a piece of software which manages your music on your Windows or Mac; and there's the the iTunes Music Store, the place where you can choose to buy music online [other music stores are also available] if you don't like owning physical plastic discs.

    This controversy is not about the iTunes Music Store (although you do need to use iTunes the software to access iTunes the store), this is about whether Palm is right to try and synchronise their phone directly with the iTunes software by pretending it is an iPod [did Palm marketing make a bad decision? Will they ever admit it?]

    All responses should note there's no "lock-in" with the iTunes software, as it stores all your music files within a structured directory layout, and provides a readily parse-able XML file listing the library contents (this is what the Blackberry and others' software uses.)

    For extra credit, consider what would happen if the iTunes software saw what it thought was an iPod, and offered to upgrade the software.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Bob 18

    "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"

    Of course you can use any music player you like to listen to your iTunes purchased music. What you CAN'T do however, is use iTunes to sync with that music player unless it's an iPod/iPhone. Your iTunes music is stored very handily in a folder on your computer which you can readily access, so if your device offers USB transferring then you can quite happily load your music player that way. Apple have developed iTunes as a partner app for their hardware so if you decide not to use an Apple device you're out of luck. Apple have absolutely no obligation to make it work with whatever non-Apple device you happen to be using.

  57. John Curry
    Jobs Horns

    I think...

    ...a lot of people are missing the point surrounding iTunes. Whether you can choose to use it or not, Apple allow you to go to their website and download it for zero benk, and then use it to organise your media collection.

    So, let's say you do this. You don't have a portable player, but have a massive cd collection that you've ripped, or mp3s that you've download from legal/illegal sources. You download iTunes, organise your media collection, grab some album artwork, maybe buy some new DRM free stuff from the Music Store.

    Then you think to yourself "wow, my music collection is truly organised now. I'd really like to get a portable player so I can listen to this stuff on the go."

    After you've spent all those hours doing the work, your only choice is Apple. Yes, you can buy something else, but you're then going to have to spend hours reorganising, and if you want to buy from iTunes, you have to keep 2 software libraries in sync. Joe Public just isn't going to do it.

    And to be frank, why should they? Yes, Palm have probably gone about this completely the wrong way, but if Apple are selling DRM free music, and offering iTunes for nish on their website, they should at least allow other companies to fully sync with it. Not just playlist sync, but full syncing. They shouldn't necessarily have to provide end user support, but they shouldn't be bloody well allowed to offer a free piece of software to rope you in, and then only leave you with one choice of hardware.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple in the wrong, Palm in the right.

    Apple are leveraging their monopoly in the digital music market to gain an advantage in the phone market.

    This is no different than when Microsoft leveraged their OS monopoly to gain advantage in the browser market.

    The fact is, what Apple is doing is anti-competitive, and on the basis of the Microsoft vs. DoJ case, outright illegal.

    What Palm is doing, may break standards, but it's not illegal, it's simply their attempt at working round Apple's illegal anti-competitive artificially created barriers.

    It's ironic, because most Apple fanboy's reason for often irrationally hating Microsoft is because of their illegal monopolistic practices. Yet here we are, the tables are turned, Apple is the evil one, and yet they flock in swarms to defend it. Their defence of Apple in this case implies that they must also accept that it's okay for Microsoft to use whatever monopolistic means at it's disposal to destroy Apple, else they are simply hypocrits and do not have a valid point whatever their argument.

  59. Ian Davies
    FAIL

    @Adam Williamson

    No. You're wrong.

    "artificially created dominance of the software music player domain"

    Artificial? So, what you're saying is that there *wasn't* a wide choice of MP3 players and jukebox software to choose from before iTunes came along (which at the time, Apple was laughed at for being late to the party, BTW)? You can bitch about choice all you like. The fact is that people have lots of choices. You just don't like the choice that most of them are making.

    "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."

    No, it just worked because Apple wasn't making rigid checks for non-Apple devices during the handshaking process.

    "Then Apple shipped an iTunes update which specifically identifies the Pre - using its correct USB ID - and refuses to work with it"

    That's because Pre are the only dumbasses to go down the shady route of spoofing a USB vendor ID instead of doing it the right way and using the provided XML file like other manufacturers do.

    "despite the fact it would work fine if Apple didn't specifically prevent it from working."

    Work fine, says who? Pre?

    Pre Marketing Droid : "Oh don't worry. Just a few undocumented APIs we've reverse engineered (*cough* stolen by our ex-Apple engineers) really well. Works a treat. No chance of us borking your library by writing data back that iTunes doesn't understand. Uh-uh. No chance of that at all... What's that? How do I know? ... uh... ooh! Look over there! Shiny thing!"

    Let's just straighten out a little history that you seem keen to have 'revised'.

    iTunes came first. It was just a music jukebox app. It did (and still does) just play music from whatever source you have, other than online stores which are protected and locked down at the behest of the record companies.

    When the iPod was launched, iTunes (Apple software) gained the ability to sync the music library to the iPod (Apple hardware).

    Please explain exactly why Apple has any obligation to support 3rd party hardware in a software system that has been successful with consumers *PRECISELY* because it's a simple, single-vendor environment that doesn't force people to deal with incompatibilities?

    You know, incompatibilities caused by stupid crap that companies like Microsoft (PlaysForSure / Zune) and Pre (unauthorised use of undocumented APIs) pull because they're too lame to build products that enough people want to buy?

  60. Mathew White
    FAIL

    Clubbing.

    I hear all the palm engineers tell the girls in the club on a saturday night that they work for apple so they can synchronise contact details.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Armchair Legal experts.

    Got a law degree? MBA or Economics degree? Didn't think so. Stick to computers...

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Badgers

    Vendor Id's and my nightmares

    Oh god, my worst nightmare, I'm going to actually defend Apple :(

    Sorry, but these VendorID numbers are assigned by a body, in this case the USB guys, for the use of that Vendor. For another vendor to use it is kinda foul play. It would be like using their MAC address company identifier. So yes, in this case Palm aren't playing the game, in fact as far as I am concerned, they're stooping to the same subhuman low life level that Apple reside in.

    If they want the Pre to be recognised by iTuff then frig the software like everyone else. Better still, don't use iFU.

    Yes, I'm a hardware engineer... fix it fookin' software.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    anti competetive?

    Surely this is comparable to say if Microsoft were to block non-IE browsers from visiting its website. Sure, people can fake their browser, or other browsers could write some proxy system in to allow users to access microsoft.com, but why the hell should they?

    Apple claims to have the best smart phone and mp3 player hardware/software available, and they might be quite right, but they seem to be trying to create a monopoly that shuts out all competition which isn't good for us end users in the longrun.

  64. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Jobs Halo

    Finally the fanbois have spoken!

    OK - everybody stop using SMB right now! Andrew Tridgell had no right to reverse engineer our message protocol.

    Right - that's sorted.

  65. sleepy

    Palm is doing this for publicity

    Of course it's easy for Palm to write a sync application that accesses the media and tag information (held in standard format outside iTunes), and even accesses the iTunes catalogue if they are prepared to track iTunes releases. I'm sure Apple would be happy with that: more business through the iTunes store, clear demarcation of what is Apple and what is Palm. Apple would probably turn a blind eye to the existence a "well known hack" allowing Pre to pass itself off as iPod. But a competitor passing off their device as being equivalent to an Apple device is a step too far.

    What they are not happy with is the hijacking of the iPod brand identity by a competitor, with a product that doesn't offer iPod features or design, and the probability, if this is allowed to continue, that the iPod USB interface becomes a de facto open standard, to which further innovation cannot be applied. There are also substantial bandwidth costs for Apple in providing iTunes and associated services. Palm should pay their fair share of that and not freeload.

    Palm have a steep uphill battle on their hands to catch up with the rapidly evolving iPod/iPhone infrastructure. They are getting lots of free publicity from this spat, saving a little on writing a sync app, and stirring Apple outrage among shallow thinking "because I'm worth it" freetards.

    If you think allowing Palm to interoperate is the right thing, then why don't you go with Microsoft Playsforsure. Microsoft lets compatible devices from any manufacturer use that. And Playsforsure is guaranteed by Microsoft to play on any device. Oh wait - Microsoft dumped that, closed the music store, killed all the music customers had already bought, and went into competition with their former partners with the Zune and a new proprietary music format that's not Playsforsure.

  66. Bill Fresher
    Thumb Down

    Pre: Killer Feature

    Was "Works with iTunes" really such a big selling point for the Pre?

    It must be pretty crappy if it was.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Ridiculous

    > And then when your Mac's HD dies, your iTunes library goes with it, and the next time you connect your iPod it gets wiped too. >:-(

    It's VERY easy to avoid this. It's called reading the instructions.

    > You might as well claim it's wrong to open a .DOC in anything other than Word

    Well, if that other software claims to be able to work with .DOC files then that's fine. What would be wrong is complaining to Adobe that Photoshop won't open .DOC files. Adobe don't claim it will and don't support that usage, same as Apple don't claim Palm devices will work with iTunes.

    Why is nobody complaining about other device manufacturers? The music sync software I got with my Sony Ericsson phone won't work with a Nokia, and vice-versa. The photo transfer software I got with my Panasonic digital camera won't work with my Fuji camera. I can still transfer photos manually, as you can with iTunes music. But the software that came with the device doesn't work with other manufacturers devices, and doesn't claim it will.

  68. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: And if M$ did this with Zune...

    Except that nobody would have given a rat's arse as WMP doesn't have the world's most popular online music store, backed by a multimedia advertising campaign that makes everyone else put together look like an also-ran, locked into it.

    Which is the killer here. If it were possible to purchase music and download it from the iTunes store using A.N.Other piece of software and iTunes itself really was "just" the iPod sync program *and* Apple provided and supported the APIs into said store to facilitate this, then Palm would be taking the piss.

    As it is, they're trying to handle offering media player functionality in a world where there's a de facto, vertically integrated, locked down tighter than a gnat's chuff monopoly.

    While it may well be possible to extricate music from the iTunes app by other means, this means you still have to have iTunes, a fairly strong incentive to purchase a device that works with it natively. It also means that it doesn't "just work" any more, so Johnny Mug Punter will buy an iPhone, which does.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @And if M$ did this with Zune... #

    They did, or is your memory failing a bit?

    PlaysForSure ring a bell?

    It didn't cause any rimples in the pond because the Zune is just a niche player.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Crazy from the get go

    Palm: Look at our iPhone-botherer. Isn't it nice?

    Apple: It sure is. But do you seriously think we're just going to sit idly by whilst you use our own software to compete against us?

    Palm: Errr... yes?

    Apple: Errr... no. Develop your own, freetards!

    Whoever at Palm thought this was a sensible idea should be banished to the basement and have their stapler taken away from them.

  71. bygjohn
    Jobs Halo

    @ markfiend

    "And then when your Mac's HD dies, your iTunes library goes with it, and the next time you connect your iPod it gets wiped too. >:-(

    I was one of the lucky ones. I had backed up the 30+ GB of music I'd put on my iPod (yes, legally) onto an external HD. How many people bother to do that?"

    Actually, anyone who's used Time Machine or similar software to backup their Mac...

    And while I'm here, my tuppenceworth: lots of people seem to be able to write software to interface non-Apple devices to iTunes, from Blackberry to the guy who wrote the stuff for SE p910s and some other phones. Would it really have been too much for Palm to do the same, or licence something Pre-rolled (badoom-tish) from someone else? Or just have it mount as a drive - I believe (haven't tried it) that you can drag and drop to USB drives/players that mount as them directly from iTunes.

    Seems like Palm, having decided to try to clone the iPhone's interface etc decided they might as well go the whole hog and just pretend to be Apple kit. Rather pathetic, and frankly lazy. Can't help thinking that betting the farm on a device trying to be something else isn't the wisest move ever seen. And they were ahead of the game with the Treos to start with: what a waste.

  72. Michael C
    FAIL

    It's not rocket science to code something

    Look, the iTunes library is a fracking XML file... There are DOZENS of apps that access that file for it's information, and use it to manage syncing music to devices, add/manage music in the library through external tools, offer remote control ability, update ID3 tags and album art, and more.

    Apple has plug-in support for such external apps, and the XML file can be modified in REAL TIME, without causing issues with iTunes.

    All Palm had to do was write a small app to interface with what other companies have already done. Many of these companies offer their software from $9.99 to $29.99 (like Tune-Up which offers LIFETIME upgrades to their library management app for $29.99), annd some of them have that as their only line of profit. Surely Palm could have dedicated a few people to write an app that might have added $3-5 to the price of the device, instead they'll blow millions on legal cases, have disgruntled customers, and in the end almost certainly loose their case. Or, they could have partnered with Apple, which may very well have worked if the Pre settled on full iTunes integration as that could only make Apple money...

    iTunes is just a library management package. The music is all on the hard disk stored in simple folders. The data about it is in a simple XML file. All palm needed was to have a simple interface to read a file, then sync songs based on use selections. iTunes still doesn't manage photos, and the Pre can't play podcasts and iTunes video due to those still containing FairPLay DRM unlike music. All integrating "directly" did for them was to make the process look "slightly" more seamless, but without Apple's permission, seriously, how long did they think this was going to last? The SECOND the press got wind, ervy single one predicted the very next update to iTunes would break the functionality, and they were all right.

    I'm not a fan of Apple restricting access the way they do, but honestly, what's Apple really supposed to do here? That iPod icon is not just an icon. Clicking on it brings up all the preferences to manage the device, syncs not just music, but all forms of iTunes meda supported, manages the USB disk porttion of the iPod, manages iPhone device settings, handles formware and software updates, loads games, apps, and more. Asking for integration of non-iPod devices would mean Apple would have been forced to modify that entire interface, and create generic support for devices out of their own pocket. Who would have paid for that, since once it was there, anyone could have used it. No, they were going to retrict it, and if someone really wanted specific device support, I'm sure Apple offered to integrate, but I'm sure the price was VERY high. Much cheaper if you just integrate to the XML file and be done with it... Palm was too cheap even to do that. What's that mean for the rest of the Pre's software??? How many OTHER corners were cut?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    @TeeCee

    "While it may well be possible to extricate music from the iTunes app by other means"

    FAQ: How do I extricate music from iTunes by other means?

    A: Open the iTunes folder (that's a directory for you MS-DOS types). Drag the music files to your destination of choice. Congratulate self on job well done.

  74. Smarty Pants
    Alert

    good for apple

    imagine that its their software they can prevent / promote everyone else as they see fit --------

    hold on ------ ---------- all the fanbois lauding this, isn't this what you were all whining about with IE and Microsoft.

    Please form an opinion and stick to it - or is it Apple ->Good, MS <- Bad whetever happens

  75. Michael Friesen
    Go

    A new 'tard!!

    Pretard: someone who wants his particular hardware choice to be supported by another manufacturer because, well, it just, you know, whatever.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I punched him because he kicked me, which one of us is the bad one?

    Sounds to me like they're both at fault...

    Palm had done the dirty on the USB spec by putting in someone elses Vendor ID in their devices (Don't know _how_ naughty this is, but it certainly isn't kosher, even if it is to circumwent unfair trading practices).

    Apple is showing it's usual love for the competition by vertically integrating browsing, buying, organising and listening to music. And then locking out all competition from each step of the process (well, not 100% but they've still made pretty good efforts at curbing it for most who arn't computer 'experts').

    From all the analogies / Similies above, most of them are either deeply flawed or just plain wrong. Here's a better one:

    MS owns the leading OS for personal computers. They also make computer mice (mouses?). Therefore they _could_ decide to make Windows only work with MS branded mice (mouses again?). If someone (say logitech) decided to make a mouse that had a VendorID in it that made the mouse look like a MS mouse so that you could use it on windows (when MS only wanted you to use MS mice/mouses with their software), then that would be a little bit naughty (by both of them).

    Pointing out that Logitech should write their own OS to work with their mouse just doesn't fly, competition doesn't work that way. Companies should be able to compete on smaller components than complete vertically integrated product systems.

    On the computer front apple's tighly vertically integrated business doesn't breach any monopoly laws, because they don't have a monopoly or even a majority share (or anything close to it) in the market.

    In the music player (and online music store) market the situation is different.

    I just realised that this has turned out to sound a bit anti-apple, so I will finish by restating my initial position that Apple and Palm are both in the wrong with this one.

    Oh, and my blackberry actually has a very nice drag and drop music player... automatically scans my id3 tags as well... only shortcoming is a lack of ogg support... (and it does a nice job of video as well) <- (Since someone above asked is anyone thought BB was a good media player).

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With Apple on this one

    It is their software, they are not preventing the Pre from working with the OS just an application, for now. Big deal, its their software. That like me complaining that the Mac OSX version of MSN Messenger dosnt do voice, and trying to claim that MS are in the wrong cos it works on windows.

    iTunes is a choice, you dont have to use it, on your Mac or PC.... keyword here CHOICE!!

    Interesting, iPhoto works with most cameras, I wonder if that would change if Apple started to make a digital camera.

    I think Apple, with their desire to be the digital media hub of your life, are missing the point, for the sake of the consumer, and their digital hub dream need to allow items such as the Pre the work with iTunes, perhaps they could come up with an "iTunes Ready" sticker.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think...

    All Palm really need is a tool that sits between the iTunes download directory and their device. That isn't as serious a hassle than it would be to start their own store, negotiate with record companies and stuff. Heck, they could probably knock that out within a week.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Both sides are right

    “Songbird is better than iTMS anyway and so functionally similar nobody would be missing out by moving.”

    Unless you want to rip one of your CDs in order to add it to your library – just one example and one that has been requested by users for well over a year, but somehow other functions such as viewing album art, have taken a priority.

    I think it’s more of case of in terms of aesthetics, rather than functionality, that people wouldn’t miss by switching – after all, the look of Songbird has been ‘influenced’ by iTunes.

    CD ripping is supposed to be added in October and lots more features are also to be incorporated, Songbird always has shown huge potential but currently, it’s lacking in a few areas….

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    market share

    This is no longer down to who is right and who is wrong, its now about market share. MS get creamed everytime they attempt to lock down something, as they have the market share and thus its seen as anti-competitive.

    Apple have the market share with itunes and the ipod. therefore locking out competitors has now become anti-competitive. So, regardless of apple being right/wrong they should/will eventually be made comply and allow other vendors use itunes.

    its a rule thats good enough for MS and should be good enough for Apple

  81. markfiend
    Jobs Halo

    I didn't think that through.

    AC at 10:59:

    > It's VERY easy to avoid this. It's called reading the instructions.

    lol Touché.

    bygjohn :

    > Actually, anyone who's used Time Machine or similar software to backup their Mac...

    Yeah OK I didn't think that through. :-)

  82. A J Stiles
    Stop

    All missing the point

    The point is, if I make a product, no matter what that product may be, by law I am not allowed to stipulate what users do with it after they have bought it and paid for it with their own money that they earned by hand or by brain.

    If I make gas boilers, I can't say you can only connect them to my approved radiators.

    If I make caravans, I can't say you can only tow them behind certain makes of car.

    If I make amplifiers, I can't say you can only connect them to my approved devices.

    And so on. Thus ensuring that there is a healthy, competitive market for third-party accessories and interoperable devices. The people who pay the manufacturers' wages reap the benefit of the competition.

    Even if I try to use a fancy, patented connector to try to force competitors at least to pay me money if they want to make accessories that will fit my products, that won't wash with the authorities: it's explicitly *not* a breach of patent or copyright if someone is forced to clone a patented product or a copyrighted phrase for the sake of interoperability.

    By the mere act of checking for specific VendorIDs, Apple are giving every other manufacturer the green light to spoof their VendorID (if this is now necessary in order to be interoperable). This has serious implications, and needs nipping in the bud before it becomes a widespread practice.

  83. Giddy Kipper

    Just one thing.....

    http://markspace.com/products/pre/mac/palm-pre-sync-overview.html

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    I got fed up reading your drivel half way through the page

    I read about half the comments before I got bored/sickened and decided to add my own.

    A few points and items of clarification:

    1, iTunes is not the only way to sync your music library to an iPod, I believe WinAmp will do it (I haven't tried). So perhaps Pre users can use that.

    2, iTunes is not the only way to copy music to MP3 players. For most, drag and drop works nicely.

    3, I can only speak from personal experience but having a music library that is 80Gb in size, I would be unable to sync it to a phone anyway, so this is only going to affect people with a small amount of music surely? In which case, see point 2 above.

    4, Writing a program that scans a directory, displays the files in a requestor asking which ones you want to sync and then syncs them is not beyond the intelligence of the guys who work for Pre. If they give me - oooh say £100,000 I'll write some something that will do this for them. It would be less than a days work! If they want to be able to sync from iTunes directly, they could write some Applescript and easily do it without pretending to be an iPod at all.

    5, Yes iTunes is pretty terrible on the PC. Runs very smoothly on a Mac though. It also does a sterling job of helping you manage your music library.

  85. MarcF

    Palms argument is fundamentally stupid

    This would be like Sony Ericsson being asked to make their PC Studio software work with Nokia mobile phones. They are both media sync applications so I don't see the difference here. It's ludicrous.

    Palm trying in vain to take a bite out of Apple's reputation.

    (This is coming from someone who has owned one Apple product, a 4G (or was it 5G, there were so many G's) 30GB video iPod, which I subsequently stopped using when I got a Walkman range phone.)

  86. SlabMan

    Who's liable?

    If a device pretending to be an iPod is hosed by a firmware update intended for a real iPod - who is liable?

  87. Sean Timarco Baggaley
    Stop

    "Market share"

    "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.

  88. Bill Fresher
    Thumb Down

    @A J Stiles

    "The point is, if I make a product, no matter what that product may be, by law I am not allowed to stipulate what users do with it after they have bought it and paid for it with their own money that they earned by hand or by brain."

    Dude... if you paid someone for iTunes you've been scammed.

  89. Dave 142

    @A J Stiles

    Dude, are you related to T J Stiles of the great band Luxrock?

  90. Paul Vail
    Paris Hilton

    Beware! There be lawyers...

    I can soon see some duff who goes out and buys a Palm, syncs up with their iTunes library, gets locked out and sues Apple because their Palm doesn't work as Palm advertised. Yep... only a matter of time. Maybe Apple is saving us all legal nightmares by not tacitly permitting Palm's desired free ride.

    Wow -- you mean this isn't a real Rolex you sold me, Palm? Oh, how could you?

    Paris, because at least you know what you're getting...

  91. Rob 103
    Jobs Horns

    My 2 cents

    A lot has been said on this subject - so I feel I must add my voice to this discussion that won't change anyones opinion.

    I'll just throw in an extra "situation" that I feel demonstrates how anti-competitive Apple are being.

    Say I buy a lovely iPhone today. Its pretty sweet, I get home and install iTunes (because I have to), and I spend lots of time uploading my music, buying some more music from the iTunes store etc. Its awesome - I can sync all this to my iPhone and listen to it all on the move. Its so easy and user-friendly. Weeeeeeee!

    18 months and a phone contract expiration down the line, I'm thinking of upgrading my phone. What shall I get? The new iPhone 4GXsqP or the Palm Pre 5? Their features are pretty similar. I like them both. Hang on a minute - if I get a Pre I wont be able to use the music management system I have on my PC (iTunes) to copy it all over. Screw it, I'll get the iPhone.

    This is anti-competitive. This is the entire point. Please can everyone stop talking about this now.

  92. Mike 61
    WTF?

    Completly Missed the real issue

    This isn't about market share, or good vs. evil, or about lock in. This is about how you use the standards you are presented with.

    For most USB devices, you plug them in, they identify themselves, and your OS, based on this identification, loads the proper driver. I don't know how man times I have had to go into a config file and change this information to get the device I own to be recognized by the driver I have.

    Now apple has taken this one step further and the software will query the device to see if it is in fact an apple branded device. no problem. The simple workaround is for device X, in this case palm pre, to answer back with yes, I am an apple branded device.

    I really don't see the problem here, its not about Itunes, or apple or palm, its about the ability of a device, ANY DEVICE, to be able to identify itself in such a way that your computer sends and receives the requisite data in the proper format. Any other issue is just smoke blinding you/us from the real issue, the ability to move your data from one device to another in a method of your choosing. The specs are there to allow interoperability, not to limit it.

  93. Ian Davies
    Thumb Down

    @market share

    You, and everyone else bleating about anti-competitive behaviour, might want to take a look at the history books and understand what it really means.

    MS got slapped by the DOJ (although that 'slap' amounted to little in practical changes to their behaviour) because they were actively trying to prevent other companies from having the same access to the OS (Windows) as their software division (Office, etc.) and trying to stop certain competing 3rd party products from being a success full stop.

    For Apple to deserve the "anti-competitive" tag, they would have to be doing something like trying to stop Pre from making their own media player/library manager. Clearly they are not doing any such thing. The iTunes software isn't an OS component. There's nothing to say Apple has to support any device in iTunes other than the one it was designed for. Likewise there's nothing to stop Palm making their own software to do the same job. They could even read the iTunes library information if they wanted to. But they couldn't be arsed, and instead are acting like whiney little bitches because Apple, surprise-sur-friggin'-prise, won't let them follow their parasitic little business model.

    I hope Palm get's their arse kicked.

  94. Adam Williamson 1
    Megaphone

    @Ian Davis

    Yes, iTunes came out before the iPod. And what a massive fricking success it was!

    ...oh, wait. It wasn't. To a rough approximation, no-one used it.

    Notice I said Apple had an artifically created monopoly in SOFTWARE music players. Their monopoly in hardware music players is not artificially created - people buy iPods qua iPods, either because they think they're really good, or just because they're popular. That's fine, Apple doesn't do much to artificially maintain that monopoly.

    The same is not true of software music players. Most people use iTunes not because they chose it over other music software based on its (real or imagined) merits, but because they have to use it to talk to their iPod. Note, again, the important point that Apple doesn't just actively work to stop iTunes working with other hardware players - they actively work to stop the iPod working with other software music players. If you buy an iPod (or iPhone), you're locked into iTunes.

    Because Apple has parlayed its hardware player dominance into software player dominance, we're left with a dysfunctional music player 'marketplace' (on Windows and Mac) which results in large numbers of people being forced to use iTunes, not because they particularly like it, but because Apple makes sure nothing else will work with their iPod. Hence anyone trying to compete with iTunes is stuck on an unfair playing field - they can't make their application sync directly with an iPod or iPhone, so it's more or less doomed to niche status.

    Yes, other apps can talk to iTunes via an interface it provides, but the whole point is that's nothing like parity with iTunes. It's the poor man's option. When iTunes is obligatory (you can't talk to the iPod directly, you can only talk to iTunes) but the other software is optional, which one looks like a pain in the ass to the user? Hint: it's not iTunes (although if people stopped to think about it, it should be). As I said, no-one thinks of the Blackberry as a top-tier music device, do they?

    Finally, please stop trying to pretend there's some incredibly special secret sauce to the extremely simple business of synchronizing a music library with a hardware player. It's ridiculously simple. Again, look at a non-dysfunctional system to see how it should work. Rhythmbox, Amarok or Banshee on Linux can all synchronize a music library with just about any portable player (even some iPods, where Apple hasn't yet successfully managed to lock them out), as seamlessly as iTunes works with iPods. It's really not that fricking difficult. Most music players are just mass storage devices anyway. Many that aren't use MTP, which is a decent protocol with a good common Linux implementation (libmtp). For the oddballs like the iPod that don't, other libraries have been written. Then there's a trivial bit of HAL which identifies devices as music players (based on their USB IDs) and defines what formats they can support and what directory the music files have to go in. Then the players have simple code that converts files to the appropriate format (as provided by HAL) and copies them onto the appropriate place on the device, either directly for mass storage devices or using the appropriate helper library for MTP devices or oddballs, and updates the player's database if appropriate (helper libraries do this too). It's really bloody simple, and it works great with any player whose manufacturer isn't actively trying to lock third-party software out of their devices.

    This is how it ought to be on Windows and OS X, but because of Apple's artifically-created software player monopoly, it isn't. That's the problem here.

  95. Adam Williamson 1
    FAIL

    Sean

    ""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."

    There's a rather gigantic logical flaw in your argument, which is that Palm doesn't sell music on CD.

    Having a monopoly in a market is defined as having the vast majority of customers *in that market*, not having a vast majority of the _entire world population_ as your customers. From that standpoint, no-one has a monopoly. Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly on desktop operating systems, as most people don't own a desktop operating system...

  96. Ainteenbooty
    Thumb Down

    poor strategy for the future

    I get what they're trying to do, but Jesus.

    It's not like the palm will outsell iPhones, or that any device in existence will displace iPods. Apple has little to fear by playing nice with other devices. They should WANT people to use iTunes (a major income pipeline for them, more users means more money) with anything and everything they want to play music on, thereby perpetually reaffirming its status as the default standard music player (and potential source of music) for everybody. Imagine if no other companies had to write their own music library software for their devices, and could instead just plug into iTunes for free, in time it would be as ubiquitous for music as bread is for sandwiches. If Apple thinks they've already achieved this level of success and are now becoming complacent, they should take a long hard look at the failures of that "evil empire" called Microsoft.

    All in all I get it. It's just disappointing.

  97. Mike Moyle Silver badge
    Troll

    Okay, I gotta ask...

    1 -- Is Apple software copyrighted?

    2 -- Are Aoole using vendor ID or whatever to limit who can use their copyrighted IP?

    3 -- Is spoofing the vendor ID/product ID intended to circumvent that protection?

    4 -- Is Palm in violation of the DMCA?

    5 -- (Optional) Am I a sick/sad bastard for thinking of that?

  98. Ian Davies
    FAIL

    @ Rob 103

    You clearly have no idea what "anti-competitive" means.

    And you are grossly disingenuous (or just a colossal doofus) to suggest that if you change phones that you wouldn't be able to just copy your music files (you know, the ones easily accessible in your iTunes *music* folder) into whichever location the Palm Pre is using for its own music player / sync software.

    Oh, except that Palm has been too cheap / stupid / shady to actually develop their own.

    _THIS_ is the entire point. Please can you stop talking arse now.

  99. B 9

    @Adam Williamson 1

    Based on your reply you might want to add yourself to the idiot list. . .

    "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."

    - Wrong. Apple created a music player and the software to synch music to that player. They have NOT abused it as you stated. iTunes and the iPod grew their markets together, it was an integrated product offering. One was not dominant and then forced people to adopt the other. You characterization is either ignorant of the history of both products or an outright lie.

    "since Apple do their damnedest to stop the iPod working with any other application, to preserve this monopoly situation"

    - Wrong again. Apple does NOT have a monopoly. Please look up what a monopoly means. They have a large share of the market in this area, but not a monopoly. They also did not "stop the iPod from working with any other app". They desgined it to work seamlessly with iTunes. They are under no obligation to make the iPod work with any other app. In fact it would be stupid to do so from a competition reason as well as a waste of company resources.

    "the Pre is at a clear disadvantage compared to the iPod"

    - Only because Palm was too lazy to write their own synching app with the Apple supplied SDK.

    "Because of Apple's artificially created dominance of the software music player domain"

    - Not artificial. How is it artificial? They competed and they won.

    " 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. "

    - Wow, THAT is just wrong on every level. Palm originally had the Pre falsely identified as an iPod to synch.

    "But Apple can do no wrong, apparently."

    - Wrong again. Apple can do wrong, but your assertions above are completely untrue. Apple does lots of stuff wrong (app approvals for one) but Palm is the culprit in this case. They were either too lazy to write their own software, or they hoped to keep their mediocre product in the limelight for as long as possible by artificially creating (your words) a fake conflict like this for the press. Either way Palm does a disservice to its customers and from the sales numbers I've seen they are getting their just rewards.

  100. B 9

    @Rob 103

    "if I get a Pre I wont be able to use the music management system I have on my PC (iTunes) to copy it all over. Screw it, I'll get the iPhone.

    This is anti-competitive. This is the entire point. Please can everyone stop talking about this now."

    - Well you could use the Pre if they had bothered to write their own synching software, but they were too lazy and didn't do it. It's not Apple's job to make Palm look good.

    It is NOT anticompetitive. Your expectations are unrealistic for any company. Can you please stop talking about it now?

  101. Andy Bright

    Yeah this doesn't seem right

    iTunes isn't an OS, it's a media syncing application and music/video purchasing tool. Now that nearly, if not all, music has been made DRM free on iTunes there isn't any valid argument that demands Apple make it compatible with other products.

    Pretty much all of the content on iTunes is available from online stores like Amazon anyway, so this was never a monopoly issue - which I suppose Palm know given their weird decision to attack from a USB standards viewpoint.

    The ironic thing is if Apple decide they'll be damned if they'll let Palm use their software, Palm may very well have made their device incompatible with every online store. Amazon for example are explicit about their video files not being compatible with the iPod and it wouldn't surprise me if that incompatibility now includes the Palm Pre.

    And even Apple fanbois admit iTunes is at best an average media management tool. It's slow, messy and unintuitive. In fact it isn't any better than Media Player.

    If Palm had decided to make a decent media application, their iTunes using customers could have continued to use iTunes and may well have decided to get any video or audio book content they wanted from somewhere like Amazon. Not that it matters, not many people use a cell phone to watch movies or TV and probably never will. There just isn't a need for it outside of waiting at an airport gate or sitting on a train. Even then pretty much any computer would be better, which most traveling workers with cell phones have in the form of a notebook.

    A real breakthrough would be to create a media organising and purchasing application that sync'd and organised music bought from iTunes (or any other store) as well as allowing direct purchasing from Amazon and perhaps a few others.

    If the application improved the experience of organising, playing and syncing media then pretty much everyone, even non-Palm users, would take a serious look at it. Other applications exist that do some of this, but none of them allow you to purchase directly from non-iTunes stores (as far as I know) apart from those stores own klutzy and even worse than iTunes media players.

  102. I didn't do IT.
    Flame

    USB-IF, EULA, and Standards

    Version 2.0 of the USB specification (April 27, 2000) final, Section 9.5.1:

    "If the class or vendor specific descriptors use the same format as standard descriptors ... the case or vendor-specific descriptors shall follow a related standard descriptor they modify or extend." (http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/usb_30_spec_052109.zip)

    Therefore, there is nothing to stop Palm from returning "case specific" descriptor information that follows the same format as standard descriptors. There is nothing in the USB 2.0 Adpoters Agreement (http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/adopters.pdf) that requires using the values dictated by USB-IF.

    So, Palm was being courteous in notifying USB-IF of its modification, but was not required by the specification nor the adopters agreement. The meat of Palm's notification was the request for review of Apple's use of the specification; not necessarily something that the USB-IF can really rule on - Apple can not lose the "USB" compatibility logo, and neither can Palm. Mostly this seems to be pressuring Apple to stop tweaking, without going to the courts.

    From iTunes EULA EA0367 (http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/itunes.pdf) Section 2:

    "... Except as and only to the extent expressly permitted in this License or by applicable law, you may not copy, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, modify, or create derivative works of the Apple Software or any part thereof. ..."

    So, while XML (and MP3, AAC, etc.) may be a *standard*, the explicit format of the data created and used by iTunes that _happens to be stored in XML compliant text file format_ (the schema) is copyright, and protected by copyright law. Also, its use, access, etc. is expressly prohibited by the EULA (see above). Violation of the EULA is a breach of contract, and has nothing to do with copyright law, btw (no criminal penalties, merely civil).

    One excemption implied in the EULA (to keep Apple from being sued by the US) is reverse engineering for interoperability (US Code § 1201.f.1-4) This applies for other issues of non-Apple hardware and Apple software (Psystar and OSX, anyone?). Under this, it is expressly allowed to circumvent Apple DRM lock-in (iTunes only working with Apple devices to sync). Whether anyone wishes to acknowlege it or not, Apple's technological efforts to only allow Apple-branded devices to work with iTunes constitutes DRM, sorry. Without this exception allowed by the DMCA, APPLE COULD SUE YOU FOR COPYING THE FILES USED BY iTUNES TO YOUR NON-APPLE USB PLAYER. Yes, that does include media "bought" (sorry, "licensed" - you still don't own it) from iTunes, as stated in the EULA above (section 5). Don't suppose anyone thought of that? No? Hmmm.

    A good, cursory look (with references) at this was done in 2006: http://weblog.ipcentral.info/archives/2006/08/interoperabilit_3.html

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Enough 'rights' - this is how it goes down

    I love all the talk based on assumed 'rights' - but these moral arguments aren't going to have any effect on how this turns out in the end.

    When Palm decided to emulate the iPOD USB you can be sure they spent a lot of time talking to their lawyers about real actual legal rights before releasing it and did it anyway.

    When Apple saw this happening you can bet your last groat that their first call was to their lawyers - but the eventual response was a technical one. Given how sue-happy Apple are this strongly suggests that they couldn't think of a legal recourse that would stick - and certainly not one that would get them a preliminary injunction stopping the Pre and effectively killing the Pre before it gets started in the market.

    So Palm will do what they want and Apple will respond in kind. Palm may be writing/sourcing alternate sync software - but any software will always be less convenient than just having everything work automatically when the Pre is plugged in - just the way it does now. So I don't think I'd be assuming Palm will back down on this one.

    As the article notes Apple can continue this game by using other USB descriptor fields - and Palm can then emulate those fields as well. Remember that the Pre asks what it should do on USB (act as a flash drive, do nothing, emulate a iPod) so they can keep playing this game without impacting the ability to sync via drag&drop or with other software developed by Palm or a third party.

    After that there are things Apple could still do, but those generally would require iPOD & iPhone device firmware changes which, I guess, Apple would like to avoid. I assume every time Apple issue a firmware upgrade a small number of units are bricked and if Apple are forced to accept responsibility for those bricked units as collateral damage in this game that nobody except Apple cares about then the game gets expensive for Apple very quickly. At first glance the same is true for Palm - but they've been wise enough to make their un-bricking tools available to the public and their updates will probably come with new useful functionality as well.

    My guess? Apple has already decided that this isn't the battleground they want to fight on. You can't watch a TV in the US without being bombarded by Apple ads - all of which talk about apps rather than the device. Apple will go a few more rounds to see if they can outwit/outlast Palm and to raise FUD in the minds of potential Pre buyers - but will stop short of firmware changes.

    Finally it's worth noting that Pre owners are now well-warned against accepting iTunes updates when offered, so that trick won't be very effective again. I guess Apple could escalate by forcing iTunes updates (technically, or by stopping the music store from working with older versions of iTunes S/W) - but I don't think they want to go there either...

  104. Al Jones

    It's not Apples software when it's running on my computer!

    I have to use iTunes if I want to buy music from the iTunes Music Store. I don't want to have to use yet-another piece of software to synch with my preferred player.

  105. Adam Williamson 1
    Thumb Down

    Ian Davies

    There's no solid logical connection between your second paragraph and your third. You correctly identify two of the problematic behaviours for which Microsoft was pursued (there were others), but then inexplicably ignore one of them entirely - the interoperability issue - in your third paragraph, because it wouldn't suit your argument.

    You're just circling back to the initial, pathetic argument that Palm 'couldn't be arsed'. As I said, that just doesn't pass the smell test. You honestly think Palm sat around and thought 'yeah, we'll bet the entire future of the company on this Pre / WebOS thing and spend kajillions of dollars and almost all our time and effort on it, but we won't spare a couple of new hires for two weeks to write a basic media sync tool'? Please. The point is that if they just wrote their own media sync tool, they'd be at an inevitable comparative disadvantage to Apple, because of how Apple has artificially created a locked-in ecosystem between the popular iPod / iPhone hardware and the propped-up iTunes software. If Apple hadn't done that, Palm could write their own software (or, more likely, use whatever sensible third-party players had emerged as the market leaders) and be in a perfectly fine position. Because of Apple's artificially distorting behaviour, they can't. It's got nothing to do with whether they could be 'arsed'. I've already written about this at length, yet you seem perfectly happy to ignore it entirely.

  106. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Apple and Palm are rivals

    Why would Apple let Palm (a rival) do what they like with iTunes?

    Should Apple let a Zune sync with iTunes like an iPod? nope, why is Palm any different?

  107. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @Adam Williamson 1 - way to fail...

    I've just spent at least an hour of my life writing a response to your, well frankly tripe is the only word that describes it, that'll I'll never get back. Thanks. I can't be arsed now to reply to you inane and inaccurate rambling save this; a monopoly is not defined as "having the vast majority of customers *in that market*, not having a vast majority of the _entire world population_ as your customers." at all and brings in to question the rest of the shite that you have written. A monopoly occurs in a situation where there is a SINGLE SELLER in the market (source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ). You are nearly right in as much as there are few real world examples of monopolies in *any* market. Your description of a monopoly is just wrong. It's also worth noting that there is nothing in the statues of ANY country suggesting that having a monopoly is unlawful of illegal. Stop being an arrogant and opinionated little fanboy and come back when you understand these simple rules of how not to look like a dick; do your research first, *understand* the terminology, legislation and any other issues, then form your opinions. Failtard.

  108. David Austin

    title

    All seems much ado about nothing. if this hadn't turned into a public media battle, then it would have been sensible for Apple and Palm to come to a gentleman's agreement: Palm get to leverage existing iTunes users and Librarys, and Apple get revenue from Pre users on the iTunes Music store.

    Now it's turned into a public PR Battle, neither side can really back down.

    Having said that, if I was palm, I'd go about making a WinAmp plugin - if nothing else, that would get the tecchies and BOFHs on side.

    And, responding to an earlier comment, Winamp works great with iPods - iTunes is simple, which is it's blessing and curse. found so many features missing compared to other library managers, I quickly removed it stuck with the llama-whipping app.

  109. Adam Williamson 1
    Thumb Down

    @Simon Banyard

    Legally speaking, in most jurisdictions (including the U.S. and E.U.), a monopoly is not defined as the single seller in a market. Otherwise Microsoft would never have been declared a monopoly; there are other sellers of operating systems, office suites, and web browsers. Being the single seller may be the definition in pure economics terms, but pure economics is much like pure math - it has very little to do with the real world. :) Any country with antitrust laws defines monopoly rather more loosely than 'sole seller in a market', and it's the legal definition we're concerned with here.

    There's nothing illegal about having a monopoly, no. _Abusing_ a monopoly (which term also has a precise legal definition) is illegal. That's how Microsoft was prosecuted. I already said there's nothing wrong with Apple's monopoly on hardware music players. At issue is how they've abused that monopoly to artificially improve their standing in the _software_ music player market, in order to disadvantage other producers of both hardware _and_ software music players.

    And, uh, fanboy? I don't own anything made by Palm or Apple. My phone's from HTC.

  110. Adam Williamson 1
    Thumb Down

    B 9

    Your assertion that Apple don't work specifically to prevent iPods from working with third party applications is simply incorrect. Ask the developers of libgpod. Here's a blog post:

    http://mdeslaur.blogspot.com/2009/07/goodbye-apple.html

    Here's a juicy quotation:

    "Then, in August 2007, they added a new hash to the database to block non-iTunes software. This was quicky reverse-engineered and support was added to gtkpod once again.

    In November 2008, they changed the hash again. This time, Apple used code-obfuscation software on iTunes in an effort to complicate reverse-engineering a second time. When a wiki was put up to start documenting the new hash, Apple sent a takedown notice."

    Your suggestion that iPod and iTunes just 'grew together' is silly. iTunes would be nowhere near as popular as it is without the iPod. The iPod is the major factor, dwarfing others by miles, in iTunes' popularity.

  111. Lu
    Stop

    Non-technical users

    I think many people are failing to understand the true nature of iTunes dominance because we're all technically astute / power users.

    Normal, non-technical users want one way of doing things, and once they learn how it works, they stick to it. If you took your average (non-geek) ipod owner and told them to copy mp3s to their ipod without using itunes, by simply dragging and dropping them into the ipod drive using a file manager, I can absolutely guarantee most wouldn't have a clue how to do it. (Believe me, I'm in tech support, you won't believe how little proficiency most people have with the very basics of using a computer)

    The point being, most people who've ever bought an mp3 player bought an ipod (just look at the sales figures.) Because they bought an ipod, they use itunes.

    In their minds, you need itunes to get music onto your mp3 player. You could explain that you can do it just as easily with other software, but why should they? They know how to use itunes, why change? In fact, most users are afraid to change.

    That wouldn't be a problem, if other hardware devices could use itunes too. But they can't.

    So we have a situation where if you want to make an mp3 player, you'll be at a major disadvantage trying to sell it because it won't work with itunes, which is what most people want, no, NEED to use.

    So what's so wrong about that? It's Apple's software, they can do what they want.

    Well, not according to the DOJ and the EU.

    They told MS they couldn't use the fact that most people who buy computers want to use Windows on them to force users to use Internet Explorer as the web browser.

    In other words, to spell it out: Just because it's your software, doesn't mean you can do what you like with it. As soon as you're the dominant player in the market (Which ipod / itunes is, by miles), then that becomes illegal because it's anti-competitive.

    It wasn't Microsoft's fault they were the dominant desktop OS. They worked hard and spent billions of dollars to achieve that. BUT the DoJ still stopped them from doing what they wanted with their own software.

    It's not Apple's fault they're dominant in the mp3 market. They spent billions of dollars to achieve that. BUT... etc.

  112. A J Stiles
    Grenade

    Still missing it

    The Law of the Land, recognising that interoperability is essential for a fair marketplace, says that Ford are not allowed to prevent you from fitting non-Ford accessories to a Ford car.

    They don't have to make it easy, but neither can they use the force of law to stop you.

    This means that: Any act that would ordinarily be illegal, is allowed -if and only if- it is necessary in order to defeat a manufacturer's unlawful tactics to prevent you from exercising your statutory right to use your own property as you see fit.

    The same law that applies to Ford applies to Apple. They can try to hold you to a licence agreement, but any part of that agreement that seeks to diminish your statutory rights has no validity in law.

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