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The Palm Pre will be the first non-Apple phone to feature firmware-supported syncing with iTunes. The great mystery is whether Apple will try to sue Palm to block this feature.  (Source: Apple 2.0)
New smart phone will be first non-Apple phone to sync nicely with iTunes, but will Apple ruin the party?

For iPod users on the fence over whether to jump on the iPhone bandwagon or try the new Palm Pre, the iPhone's first multi-touch competitor, they may just have gotten a bit of an incentive to choose the latter.  It has been revealed that the Palm Pre will sync perfectly with iTunes, allowing customers with iPods to transfer their music files without hassle or third-party utilities.

The surprise scoop was discovered and confirmed by the many reviewers who received and have been testing early Pre handsets.  However, the news actually leaked in January from a Palm employee -- but no one followed up, as it was likely dismissed as a wild rumor.

ITunes treats the Pre just like an iPod or iPhone, except it can't get iPhone apps and it can't use old copy-protected songs (Apple recently dropped copy protection).  Previously, users could sync iTunes with smart phones like the Palm Treo and 700p, but only via a third-party application.  This time the phone's firmware comes sync-ready.

Palm is full of ex-Apple engineers, including Palm president Jon Rubinstein, who built the original iPod for Steve Jobs so this bit of news is not totally surprising.

The one uncertainty is whether Apple will block Palm's encroachment on its iTunes software.  Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook has hinted in the past that Apple may seek legal action against Palm for possible violations of its mobile devices multi-touch patent.  Palm, however, has expressed little concern over lawsuits from Apple.  It is confident that it will win any such battles, and that Apple will lose in negative publicity as well.



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RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly??
By Natfly on 5/29/2009 3:11:26 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
...is it anti-competitive that the power cord for your Wii doesn't work with your PS3?


Whoosh....you missed my point entirely... It has everything to do with being anti-competitive.

Apple produces these two standalone products, iTunes and iPods. A third party creates an iTunes similar program to put music onto iPods. Apple doesn't like users not using iTunes, therefor they release a new firmware for iPods to purposefully disable third party software. Not for feature enhancement, not to better their product, but for the sole purpose of cutting potential competitors out.


RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly??
By Motoman on 5/29/2009 3:18:03 PM , Rating: 2
I think you wooshed too hard...

The article says nothing about "A third party creates an iTunes similar program to put music onto iPods."

That is categorically not what is being discussed here. Palm did not create something like iTunes to put music onto iPods.

Palm reverse-engineered the "Synch" function, which is an Apple-specific function to synchronize an iPod with your iTunes account.

This function is not necessary to use iTunes. It is also not a function that Apple exposed to other developers, nor is it functionality that anyone has any right to expect iTunes to do for a non-Apple device.

Whether or not Apple adjusts their Synch function to recognize that a non-Apple device is attempting to use it, and then disable it, is up to them. And it is categorically not an anti-competitive move if they choose to do so, anymore so than it would be that the online banking features that Wells Fargo has won't let you work with your Bank of America accounts.


RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly??
By Natfly on 5/29/2009 3:38:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think you wooshed too hard... The article says nothing about "A third party creates an iTunes similar program to put music onto iPods."


I was referring to the example I stated, and to which you replied.

quote:
Whether or not Apple adjusts their Synch function to recognize that a non-Apple device is attempting to use it, and then disable it, is up to them. And it is categorically not an anti-competitive move if they choose to do so


Normally you are right, but when you become a monopoly (not in itself illegal), the rules change and doing things like that can be considered anti-competitive, monopolistic practices, etc.


RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly??
By Motoman on 5/29/2009 3:47:58 PM , Rating: 2
OK, let's do a quick Google (or Bing if you like) and see how many places we can buy .mp3s from.

Answer: lots. DRM-free too. And when I buy a DRM-free .mp3 from <anyplace> I can use it on any .mp3 player I want to, without hindrance, and all such .mp3s are the same.

Hence, it is a physical impossibility for iTunes to be considered a monopoly.

Pointing out that <whatever>% of the market's revenue is made by iTunes does not signify that it is a monopoly. It signifies that it is very popular. It's not a monopoly, and can't possibly be a monopoly, because there are plenty of other places to buy .mp3s from, and an .mp3 bought anywhere works just the same on any device you want to use it on.


RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly??
By omnicronx on 6/1/2009 9:36:21 AM , Rating: 2
You keep bringing this off topic..(same as with my reply) This argument has nothing to do with where you buy MP3's/DRM etc etc., but Apple releasing firmware that does notthing else but stop other software from syncing with the iPod.

His monopoly comment was about mp3 sales not itunes. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

If Microsoft has 'monopoly status' with 85%+ marketshare, then why can't Apple in the mp3 market?

Just last year they had 90% marketshare in the hardrive based mp3 market and 70% of the entire market. Should Apple ever reach 80% they could surely be considered a monopoly and as such they would not be able to use the same practices as today.

In other word if Apple had enough share, you can easily make the case that Apple is using the mp3 market dominance to force people to use iTunes. This is no different than MS using its market dominance to 'force' people to use I.E, or when they tried to 'force' users to use Office when they tried to integrate it into Windows. Unfortunately will success comes the rules to limit your success, and Apple is not free from these rules.


RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly??
By Motoman on 6/1/2009 10:09:12 AM , Rating: 1
Off-topic? What topic do you think we're talking about here? Oh, I see from your reply, you fundamentally missed what the point of the article is. Let me help:

quote:
This argument has nothing to do with where you buy MP3's/DRM etc etc., but Apple releasing firmware that does notthing else but stop other software from syncing with the iPod.


No, no it doesn't. There is nothing in this article that hints at anything Apple is doing to "stop other software from synching with the iPod." That notion appears nowhere in the article. So I have to wonder how you got that idea in your head.

So what is the actual point of the article? Let's see - Palm has apparently hacked the iTunes Synch function to make iTunes think that a Palm Pre is an iPod, and therefore trick the Synch function into Synching your Pre with iTunes like it would with an iPod.

That doesn't have the slightest thing to do with "stopping other sofware from synching with the iPod."

What it does have to do with is that Palm has hacked their way into an Apple-specific service. Key word: hacked. It's a HACK. It's not authorized by Apple, they didn't publish any API or SDK for it, they never said, suggested, or even hinted that the Synch function would work with anything other than Apple hardware.

It is EXACTLY the same as the examples I gave earlier. It is not in any way different from, or more "anti-competitive" than Windows Update (which only works with Windows) or the Wells Fargo online banking service (which won't work with your Bank of America accounts) or the fact that eBay's service can't be used to list items on craigslist. There is NO DIFFERENCE. It is absolutely moronic to insist that an Apple-specific function "must" somehow magically work with non-Apple hardware. That makes no more sense than insisting that Windows Update "must" somehow magically be able to update a Linux system.

If you want to have the Zune interface in your car, you buy the Ford that has that interface. You don't get to buy a Hyundai and then complain that it doesn't have a Zune interface. It's a feature of a specific car, period, end of story.

Also, there is no possible way in any universe that iTunes can be considered a monopoly of anything. There are MANY sites where you can buy .mp3s. THEY ARE ALL THE SAME. There is NO DIFFERENCE between an .mp3 bought on iTunes or an .mp3 bought from Amazon, or wherever else. They ALL work with ANY music player WITHOUT PENALTY. By definition, the .mp3 is a pure commodity, without any differentiation based on where you bought it.

This categorically does not have any relationship whatsoever to MS Windows' marketshare and resulting monopoly - that is a monopoly because you don't realistically have other valid OS options for all the reasons why MS has been declared a monopolist. .mp3s are ubiquitous and undifferentiated. NO RELATION.

Not being able to use the Synch function, which has been from the start an Apple-only function, makes no difference to your ability to buy an .mp3 from iTunes and use it on your Palm or Zune or whatever. MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.

And in any event, the fact of the matter is that it is an Apple-only function. Which makes it mind-blowing that you think there is any possible foundation for a complaint. X-Box Live only works with X-Boxes. Please explain to me what basis a PS3 owner could possibly have for not being able to use X-Box Live. Or, please explain why X-Box Live isn't a perfect analog to the Apple Synch function. Or, explain why any of the other examples I gave aren't an analog.

Also, please explain how % marketshare in the .mp3 market can lead to any kind of monopoly. Please demonstrate how you cannot get the exact same .mp3 from someplace else and use it without detriment. In effect, educate us on how the .mp3 is not a pure commodity that can be purchased anywhere without differentiation.

Holy crap people. You aren't entitled to demand that Apple do whatever the $#%^ you want it to do. You aren't entitled to demand that an Apple-specific function should work with non-Apple hardware anymore than you're entitled to demand that Windows Update should work with non-Windows OSs. YOU'RE NOT ENTITLED. Get the $#^@ over it.


RE: Apple iTunes Monopoly??
By LRonaldHubbs on 6/2/2009 2:43:25 PM , Rating: 2
+10 Well said.


"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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