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Apple has announced plans to possibly lock the Palm Pre out of iTunes. Apple is less than thrilled that its smart phone competitor can use its music software suite.
Palm says Apple will only be hurting customers if it tries to lock the Pre out of iTunes

Several weeks ago it was revealed that Palm's new Pre smart phone was capable of directly syncing with iTunes.  It was widely speculated at the time that Apple might have a problem with Palm interfacing itself to iTunes.

Now Apple has released an iTunes support document that appears to be aimed directly at Palm.  In the document, Apple warns:

Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players and, because software changes over time, newer versions of Apple's iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with non-Apple digital media players.

In other words, Apple is likely planning to try to lock the Palm Pre out of iTunes.  The move is contrary to Palm's expectations.  Last month when Palm investor Roger McNamee was asked whether Apple would try to lock the Pre out of iTunes, he responded, "I don’t think so. They are practically a monopolist and this is what consumers want. Consumers own all this media. I find it hard to believe that Apple will get bent out of shape."

Palm spokeswoman Lynn Fox blasted back at Apple saying that if it makes such a move it will be hurting its customers, and she points out that Palm could switch to third party software, which Apple has been unable to lock out of iTunes.  She states, "Palm’s media sync works with the current version of iTunes.  If Apple chooses to disable media sync in a future version of iTunes, it will be a direct blow to their users who will be deprived of a seamless synchronization experience. However, people will have options. They can stay with the iTunes version that works to sync their music on their Pre, they can transfer the music via USB, and there are other third-party applications we could consider."

It's clear that feathers are ruffled so look for more developments in the future.  Apple has shown itself in the past more than willing to take action to lock out its products from third parties.  And Apple has already warned Palm and others that it may take legal action against them for "mimicking the iPhone" and using multi-touch, for which Apple holds a patent.

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By wmunn07 on 6/17/2009 1:00:25 PM , Rating: 1
I wonder how Apple is hurting itself by not being allowing Palm Pre users to sync with iTunes.

RE: Interesting
By Brandon Hill on 6/17/2009 1:04:12 PM , Rating: 5
I frankly don't see what the big deal is to Apple. If people are using iTunes, buying non-DRM MP3 tracks from iTunes, and then putting it on their Pre smartphones... I simply don't see the issue.

If anything, I'd welcome the Pre for some extra cash flow :-) And if anything, it confirms the relevance/domination of the iTunes software/store in the marketplace.

RE: Interesting
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2009 1:06:34 PM , Rating: 5
It stops you from needing to buy Apple hardware though where they make a lot of money.

RE: Interesting
By Brandon Hill on 6/17/2009 1:08:48 PM , Rating: 3
But you don't need Apple hardware to buy and playback MP3 tracks from iTunes in the first place, so how is this any different?

I could buy music from iTunes and play it on a Zune if I felt like it.

RE: Interesting
By nosfe on 6/17/2009 1:25:45 PM , Rating: 4
wait, are you actually trying to use common sense?

RE: Interesting
By h0kiez on 6/17/2009 1:35:23 PM , Rating: 3
True, but people don't really buy Zunes instead of an iPhone, do they? People actually might buy a Pre instead of an iPhone. Big difference there. Apple has always said it's not really interested in making a lot of cash from iTunes, and that it's only there to drive hardware sales. I wouldn't be shocked at all to see them lock the Pre out at some point.

RE: Interesting
By Bender 123 on 6/17/2009 2:44:05 PM , Rating: 3
People would not buy Zunes over an iPhone, but the ZuneHD over a iTouch? That looks compelling. The inevitable port of the the Zune HD platform to phones against the iPhone? Very Compelling.

The issue I have with Apple is that the seem to lack innovation at this point. Strange as it sounds, Apple has become the Microsoft of mobile/music platforms.

Compare the look and feel of the Zune software vs iTunes and tell me which one feels modern and works smoothly?

Look at the Pre vs iPhone. The Pre has truly taken the basics of the original iPhone and grown it beyond its beginning and done many innovative things. Apple decided to add video (which you can do jail broken, now, anyway...)and beef up the processor.

Sooner or later Apple will need to answer these platforms and the evolutions they bring. If they don't, they will soon find themselves fat from their success and struggling to catch up to their competitors.

RE: Interesting
By Suntan on 6/17/2009 1:38:19 PM , Rating: 3
I believe the difference is that in this instance, (for right or wrong) the Pre has been touted as a direct competitor to Apples beloved iPhone and Apple obviously sees any collareral damage it may face from reduced use of its (free) itunes software is worth it if it can cause damage to the Pre.

In any case, I've not bothered with itunes or the dreaded quicktime bloat for a couple of years after I saw the light and installed J. River. As for buying songs from itunes, well if that is more important than having any phone that Mr. jobs think you shouldn't have, then you know what your options are.

Think Different - Sounds like they are thinking just like all the other businesses out there that have little issue with hurting their customers if it means wounding their competitors.


RE: Interesting
By phatboye on 6/17/2009 1:43:32 PM , Rating: 3
I understand what FITCamaro meant to say. You are correct Brandon Hill that you don't need Apple hardware to buy iTunes songs, but Apple would like it's customers to think otherwise. If the general public knew that they don't need Apple's proprietary hardware to play iTunes songs, sync and purchase songs via iTunes then there would be less of a demand for Apple's hardware.

I don't think FITCamaro should have been down rated for his post.

RE: Interesting
By rmlarsen on 6/17/2009 2:12:19 PM , Rating: 1
Agreed. I was shocked finding myself rating up a FITCamaro posting ;-)

RE: Interesting
By adiposity on 6/17/2009 2:24:56 PM , Rating: 4
Sorry you were moddded down for this, FIT, it's clearly correct.

If Itunes (the most popular audio purchasing program in existence) suddenly works with Pre, including syncing, it challenges the notion that the iPod is something you need to take full advantage of iTunes. Since Apple makes a ton of money on iPods, you don't have to be a genius to understand Apple's approach.

The second thing is, this is standard fare. Apple is simply saying they won't guarantee compatibility with third-party devices. And how can they? Now, whether they deliberately lock-out Pre remains to be seen, but clearly they can't promise all future versions of iTunes will work with all future versions of Pre.


RE: Interesting
By omnicronx on 6/18/2009 12:21:24 AM , Rating: 4
Now, whether they deliberately lock-out Pre remains to be seen, but clearly they can't promise all future versions of iTunes will work with all future versions of Pre.
Obviously they cannot, but it does not take a rocket scientist to decipher Apples statement. Assuming Apple 'is' an abusive monopoly in using their online music dominance to drive hardware (not saying they are), it would not take much for Palm to prove that Apple specifically blocked them out. Not to mention Apple would probably be forced to show the exact change and the reasoning behind such a change.

The way I see it, Palm could easily prove beyond reasonable doubt that Apple blocked them out if an update is released anytime soon. Of course this all banks on Apple being considered Monopoly in the first place, as last time I checked, its not illegal to be just plain abusive.

RE: Interesting
By Motoman on 6/18/2009 12:48:16 AM , Rating: 2 still going on with that BS? Epic fail. Not a single person, anywhere, has a single leg to stand on against Apple on this issue. Utter stupidity to even feign that any wrongdoing has been done on Apple's part.

RE: Interesting
By SavagePotato on 6/17/2009 4:58:55 PM , Rating: 1
Apple is not only hurting the consumer but stupidly hurting themselves as well.

If you are going to put off potential customers by chasing them away from using itunes without your overpriced hardware, that is just short sighted business practice to me. A customer is a customer, if they are buying your music from your drm infested service you should at least pretend to value their business.

But then again this seems to be apples strategy for everything. Perhaps that is WHY they are such a small negligible piece of the market share with computers. Because they come across as hostile and arrogant to their customers to any but the brainwashed few that buy their products.

RE: Interesting
By UltraWide on 6/17/2009 2:47:49 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, there will be a disturbance on the homogeneous Apple universe of peripherals people are supposed to buy.

RE: Interesting
By Targon on 6/17/2009 1:56:52 PM , Rating: 3
They open themselves up to lawsuits since it is obvious they are trying to block products other than the iPhone from being able to sync to iTunes, even when there is no technical reason for it.

Basically, iTunes has enough market share where they would open themselves up to lawsuits if they tried to stop the pre from syncing.

Also, with the Pre getting a lot of hype these days, there will be people who get and use iTunes to sync with the Pre. If people are forced to use other software, they will turn away from Apple and the backlash might be a bit more than many people expect.

RE: Interesting
By psychobriggsy on 6/18/2009 9:39:32 AM , Rating: 2
I like how the author of this article has turned some text that says "we're not actively supporting or guaranteeing future support for non-Apple devices" into "we're going to block these devices deliberately".

FWIW, someone analysed the USB process and suggests it would be nigh on impossible for Apple to change things to break the third party devices, without breaking its own devices.

Personally I think Apple should come up with an open protocol for media syncing for iTunes, and support any player that decides to implement it. It can only benefit Apple to do this.

Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By HighWing on 6/17/2009 1:02:25 PM , Rating: 5
Seriously I would love to see this goto court. Apple has a clear monopoly on internet music sales and mp3 players and locking all other parties from synching with their software can be described as anti-competitive.

I just really want to see Apple get dragged into the same ball court as MS has been

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2009 1:05:09 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree with you on wanting to see them in court, I don't think they have a monopoly on online music sales. There are competitors and big ones. Amazon and Microsoft are the two largest. Yes iTunes as the majority of the market but that doesn't stop others from offering music. Others even offer it cheaper and in better formats. The problem is consumers acting like drones and following the "hip" appeal of the iPod.

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By TomZ on 6/17/2009 1:18:17 PM , Rating: 5
Monopoly doesn't mean that they have 100% market share, or that other companies cannot enter the market. Monopoly means they dominate the market and can basically dictate pricing for its customers and suppliers. In my view, Apple is not far from that.

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By knutjb on 6/17/2009 1:25:49 PM , Rating: 5
Sorry guys, only Microsoft can have a monopoly, just ask the EU.

I couldn't resist.

Apple has been crossing the line on monopolistic behavior for years but have been small enough to stay off the radar of legal action.

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By soydios on 6/17/2009 3:01:19 PM , Rating: 5
Until they entered the PMP market with iPod/iTunes. Locking out competitors whose devices are already functioning with iTunes smacks of monopolistic behavior.

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By Mitch101 on 6/18/2009 8:35:58 AM , Rating: 2
Why Apple cares/limits who uses their music download service is beyond me. A buck is a buck. If Apple doesn't want my dollar then there are others who I am sure are willing to take it..

I think Apple has peaked and unless they open up itunes and come out with a cheap Apple pc they wont get much larger than what they are now. REAL Competitors to iPhone and iPods are closing in and Microsoft pointing out the high price of admission to Apple hardware in a recessive period. Windows 7 runs great and a recent report shows it will run on legacy hardware much better than Leopard will.

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2009 1:30:08 PM , Rating: 2
True. But they don't really dictate pricing. Others offer tracks for lower costs or the same costs. All Apple and iTunes has going for it is its "coolness" factor. But people are stupid and that's enough. Amazon offered DRM-less tracks at the same price as iTunes before iTunes did. Hell iTunes even charges/charged a premium for DRM free tracks at some point. Not sure if they still do.

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By TomZ on 6/17/2009 1:47:07 PM , Rating: 4
I think that Apple has been widely reported that it basically dicates terms and conditions to the music industry, and obviously, it can set prices to consumers to whatever it wants, since there is little competition.

As I understand that market, Apple has 87% and Amazon has 13%. No other players have a significant share.

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By MozeeToby on 6/17/2009 3:30:19 PM , Rating: 5
Having a monopoly isn't illegal in the US though, abusing your monopoly status is. Specifically, you usually have to use your monopoly in one industry to leverage an unfair advantage in another industry. It's like how Microsoft had 90% of the OS market, but didn't get in trouble until they started bundling other software with it.

In the past, Apple hasn't done anything which could be called unfair. If getting a better deal from your suppliers because of your size is unfair then Walmart is the ultimate unfair business. Now though, they are trying to use their dominance in the downloadable music industry to sell hardware. In my opinion this is abusive, but I'm sure others will disagree with me.

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By mattclary on 6/17/2009 3:49:54 PM , Rating: 3
No, they don't have a monopoly by any stretch of the imagination. They are a juggernaut, but they aren't even close to a monopoly.

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By Suntan on 6/17/2009 1:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree with you on wanting to see them in court,

So it’s OK to sue Apple for their business practices, but you reprimand people for thinking the same thing about cell phone providers in that other thread?

Which is it? Can’t have your cake and eat it too.


RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By mattclary on 6/17/2009 3:47:45 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed 100%

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By jconan on 6/17/2009 9:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
Palm should sue Apple like how everybody sued Microsoft for monopolizing the browser...

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By callmeroy on 6/18/2009 8:39:09 AM , Rating: 2
I'd care about this only equal to what the case is with Microsoft, once and for all.

In other words if folks still want MS to have to provide other browsers on their OS -- fine ---- but then Apple should be forced to allow other phones to use Itunes. The reverse is true however, if MS would be (once and for all) granted the right to limit its OS (from the box that is) to include only IE on it, then Apple should be allowed to block Palm from using Itunes.

As I feel there exist similiarities in both companies issues. It wouldn't be fair to allow one company to have it their way while the other can't...that would be ridiculous.

RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly!
By PandaBear on 6/23/2009 12:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
The only monopoly in Internet Music is p2p file sharing.

And yet
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2009 1:02:46 PM , Rating: 3
If this was in the EU, they wouldn't care if Apple did this but would sue Microsoft for not developing for Palm an integration with the Zune store for the Pre.

This really wouldn't surprise me in the least. Apple gets away with whatever they want almost. And all they get is a little internet uproar and then the Apple drones go back to sucking on the teat.

RE: And yet
By ctodd on 6/17/2009 2:52:27 PM , Rating: 3
Double standards has become a norm these days. Way too much of it if you ask me.

RE: And yet
By Pirks on 6/17/09, Rating: 0
RE: And yet
By themaster08 on 6/18/2009 8:45:09 AM , Rating: 2
Monopolies were, are and will be treated by a special standard. That's the law.

Then why isn't this case being treated by that same standard?

RE: And yet
By psychobriggsy on 6/18/2009 9:54:31 AM , Rating: 2
Apple aren't a monopoly in any market.

Maybe they will be found to have one in the future, and then such special restrictions could be made to apply.

iTunes is but one of many music management applications. They don't have a monopoly there by any means.

iTunes Store is but one of many music stores.

iPod is but one of many music playing devices. It will play DRM-free music from any store. Other devices will play DRM-free music from the iTunes store. Can't see any leverage there.

RE: And yet
By stromgald30 on 6/18/2009 1:11:57 PM , Rating: 2
Think before you post next time.

Itunes is as much of a monopoly as Microsoft is in the OS market, and they get hammered for it. In a 2004 report (see wikipedia article on iTunes Store), iTunes had 70% of the market. In a 2007 survey, the market share had grown to 90%.

There is a double standard simply because Apple has marketed itself as 'cool' and 'in'. Saying that the iTunes Store is one of many music stores is like saying that Windows is one of many available operating systems (OS X, BSD, RHEL, Fedora, etc.). The argument just doesn't hold any weight.

In fact, I'm willing to venture a guess that the iPod has a monopoly in the MP3 player market. Seriously, how many iPods are out there in operation compared to Zunes, Sansas, and others that nobody ever remembers?

RE: And yet
By stromgald30 on 6/18/2009 1:18:17 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point. The double standard isn't between a company with monopoly control in a market vs. one that is not, but two companies with monopolies in their respective markets getting different treatment for using the same monopolistic tactics.

Apple has a monopoly in the (legal) online music download market. They're using their monopoly in the online music download market to protect their interests in their smart phone market.

The argument could be made this is the same as what Microsoft did in using their monopoly in the OS market to protect their interests in the web browser market.

RE: And yet
By psychobriggsy on 6/18/2009 9:52:13 AM , Rating: 2
It was Norway's and the EU's stance on Apple's DRM music store that means we have DRM-free music stores today.

Go away with your anti-Europe wank.

Oh Please....
By cserwin on 6/17/2009 1:35:55 PM , Rating: 3
I think Apple's statement makes plenty of sense. iTunes is Apple's software, it makes business sense for the Apple Store that they support compatability with other devices, but it would be foolish for them to guarantee compatability.

This is a CYA statement. Apple is going to do thier own thing. Pre works. Whatever. If it breaks, that's Pre's problem to fix, not Apples.

It would be pretty hard for apple to break compatability with Pre without breaking it for their own legacy devices. If Apple chooses to do that, that's their business.

But it is silly to think that Apple is setting themselves up to be malicious. Frankly any company making this kind of software needs to make this kind of disclaimer. Even *if* apple *wanted* iTunes to be compatible with Pre, they would still be smart to make the disclaimer.

Even Open Source software has to be concerned with the scope of the package. Pissed that Linux doesn't run on your toaster? Step up and write the code or shut up.

Did Apple take a big pile of money from Pre to guarantee compatability with their users? No. So Apple is just saying 'fix it yourself or shut up'.

RE: Oh Please....
By TomZ on 6/17/2009 1:44:06 PM , Rating: 1
Wondered when the Apple apolgists would arrive...

Anyway, Apple has a near-monopoly in online music sales, and therefore, they may be required - due to anti-trust law - to support other music players. This is because - assuming for a moment they have a monopoly - it is illegal for them to use that monopoly to increase their share of player devices.

RE: Oh Please....
By Shadowself on 6/17/2009 1:59:04 PM , Rating: 1
It's not an apologist statement. (Watch the anti-Apple group downgrade me for that statement alone!)

I doubt Apple will go out of there way to lock out the Pre. There are way too may legal pitfalls if they deliberately try to do so. Additionally, the history of such things with Apple has shown they haven't gone out of their way to block compatibility.

What Apple most certainly will not do, and is hereby letting everyone know, is any testing to be certain of compatibility with any device other than their own (e.g., iPods, iPhones and Macs). They are giving notice that they will not even test for compatibility with Pre phones or Zunes or any other non Apple device. If a software update breaks compatibility with a non Apple device it is 100% up to the manufacturer of that non Apple device to fix the issue. Apple will not give any assistance to fixing it.

This has already happened before with other hardware and software. Apple never went out its way to break compatibility, but when compatibility was broken the vendor fixed its software in a couple months and everything worked again. Rinse and repeat.

RE: Oh Please....
By cserwin on 6/17/2009 4:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
They're not talking compatability of the music format. A DRM-Free MP3 is a DMR-Free MP3.

They're talking about the compatibilty of the iTunes application to manage data Sync with the Pre.

It has nothing to do with their music sales monopoly. You can buy music on amazon and put it in itunes, rip it from cd, whatever. But Apple is only going to guarantee that iTunes will facilitate management of files on iPod devices.

RE: Oh Please....
By Motoman on 6/17/2009 8:42:27 PM , Rating: 1

Your arguements were a failure on the previous article on this topic, and they continue to be a failure.

There is no possible way, ever, that anyone could ever have a monopoly on the .mp3 market. Nothing could be more impossible.

Also, there is no possible way, ever, that Apple could be forced to extend their Synch function to work with other hardware.

Read the previous article's posts before taking off again, and in this I don't mean just TomZ. None of the arguements being made, and I mean none of them, against Apple in this case make any sense whatsoever.

RE: Oh Please....
By jconan on 6/18/2009 1:48:16 AM , Rating: 2
but apple does have a monopoly on itunes though... even though there are lesser players out there, apple is the only 1 with itunes. it's like saying ms was only os in town when other Oses existed.

RE: Oh Please....
By Motoman on 6/18/2009 6:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is the only company with Windows Update. Does that mean they have a "monopoly" on Windows Update?

Get a grip. Itunes is a product of Apple - of course they "have a monopoly" on it, since only Apple can produce Apple products. It's like criticizing Sony for being the only company you can buy a Vaio PC from. Utter nonsense.

RE: Oh Please....
By tallguywithglasseson on 6/17/2009 1:57:30 PM , Rating: 2
I read Apple's statement the same way, it didn't seem to me like they were threatening to break it on purpose - just that they're not going to test it or give the Pre consideration when doing updates.

RE: Oh Please....
By MozeeToby on 6/17/2009 3:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't they make the same kind of statement right before/after they broke all the jailbroken iPhones? I'm not saying that that was 'on purpose' either, I'm just pointing out that based on past behavior their statement would make me nervious if I were counting on this functionality.

By SuperFly03 on 6/17/2009 2:27:36 PM , Rating: 2
This is anti-competitive. It does not promote competition in the cell phone and media player markets. It is anti-consumerism!


By mattclary on 6/17/2009 3:45:16 PM , Rating: 2
I find it hard to believe that Apple will get bent out of shape

Guess he doesn't know Apple very well.

They will lose money
By ira176 on 6/17/2009 8:28:34 PM , Rating: 2
Apple will lose money if they lock the Palm Pre out. The Pre might be popular, and may be popular with those who don't care for apple products, but you can't argue the fact that iTunes has a major share of the digital download music market. I think because of this, Apple could still profit, because people will still want their music even if they own a Pre and iTunes is one of the best ways to get it. I doubt that, at least with the Palm Pre, you would see a future incompatibility with iTunes, because I think Palm would keep this device up to date with iTunes, that is if apple doesn't lock it out first.

By coversyl on 6/18/2009 1:56:48 AM , Rating: 2
There are 2 scenarios - would either be 'illegal' or 'anti trust' ?

1. Apple make changes to iTunes, nothing to do with Palm Pre, but those changes make Palm pre unable to sync with iTunes

2. Apple deliberately lock out Palm Pre (code like: if connected.device = Palm.pre then exit)

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