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Apple has killed the Palm Pre's ability to sync with iTunes in cold blood, with its latest software update.

Don't install this iTunes update if you own a Palm Pre -- it will kill the phone's ability to easily sync with your library.  (Source: CNET)
Leave it to Apple to rain on everyone's parade

Apple doesn't take kindly to would-be usurpers to its status of the highest tech (and bestselling) smart phone on the market.  It has threatened to take legal action against those who violate its mobile multi-touch patent that it was awarded.

Now it has taken action to try to kill the potential of the Palm Pre before it gains significant market share.  One of the key features of the Pre was its ability to sync effortlessly with iTunes, via firmware support.  As the majority of MP3 players on the market are iPods and most people have their music libraries on iTunes, this was an attractive feature as it made for a painless import of your music library.

However, Apple will not let the threat to its smart phone empire stand and true to its word has rolled out an iTunes update that kills the feature -- iTunes 8.2.1.  The release notes describe, "iTunes 8.2.1 provides a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices."

Sure enough, the update kills the Palm Pre's iTunes syncing via the Media Sync option.  Unfortunately for Apple, though, the update can't lock out doubleTwist and The Missing Sync, and other applications which offer similar syncing for smart phones.  Palm is actively advertising these apps as work arounds.

Palm stuck by its previous statement when asked for comment, remarking, "Palm's media sync works with iTunes 8.2. If Apple chooses to disable media sync in 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 can consider."

A simple way for Pre users to keep the good syncing rolling is to not update iTunes.  Those who installed the update can delete iTunes and find an older version online.

Apple has proved merciless in its enforcement efforts in the past.  From suing Mac cloners out of existence to bricking customers' iPhones who left the AT&T network, Apple has done its best to stick it to those buy its hardware but refuse to do its bidding.  In the MP3 player and online music market, however, where Apple enjoys virtual monopolies, one must wonder how much longer it can practice such anticompetitive tactics before its hit with antitrust fines and regulation as Intel and Microsoft have been.


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By Sunrise089 on 7/15/2009 8:40:48 PM , Rating: -1
Um...monopolistic behavior means abusing market power to hurt consumers by keeping away competition.

Anyone is free to develop their own competing music software. Furthermore how are consumers hurt? iTunes is free. The Pre isn't any cheaper than the iPhone, and isn't clearly better. You don't need iTunes to use a Pre....so where is the antitrust claim?

To draw a parallel, should Toyota be required to make all of the parts on their car drop-in compatible for a Ford? If Toyota happened to have an engine that would bolt up to a Ford chassis, and then Toyota re-designed the engine and it wouldn't, do you think Ford has an antitrust claim?


By Souka on 7/15/2009 10:08:05 PM , Rating: 5
Apple does have a monopoly in the mp3 player market...which is pretty much a majority share of the music sales.

:)


By Motoman on 7/16/2009 10:00:54 AM , Rating: 2
Impossible. A majority market share does not indicate monopoly. Single-source indicates monopoly. Mp3s are undifferentiated and are the same product available from any number of sources...it is an immutable fundamental fact that there could not ever, EVER, be a monopoly in the .mp3 market.

Please demonstrate how Apple could ever have a monopoly in the .mp3 market. Because in order to do so, you're going to have to demonstrate how you can't get .mp3s from someplace other than Apple, and that will not ever happen.


By 91TTZ on 7/16/2009 4:55:56 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
mpossible. A majority market share does not indicate monopoly. Single-source indicates monopoly.


The government busted Microsoft for these crimes even though they've never had a monopoly. They took issue with Microsoft bundling IE with Windows even though there are other operating systems out there besides Windows and even though other browsers would still work in Windows besides IE.


By inighthawki on 7/15/2009 10:22:31 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Um...monopolistic behavior means abusing market power to hurt consumers by keeping away competition.


and what apple did ISNT hurting consumers/competition? Palm made a device that syncs with iTunes, and naturally that's all good, but Apple SPECIFICALLY rolled out an update to make sure that their devices didn't work. This wasn't one of those accidents or "hey woops, broke some code" it was literally an "if not apple device, dont let sync" feature. They are actively denying competition by destroying compatibility.


By Chaser on 7/16/2009 2:27:21 PM , Rating: 1
And Apple made a product specifically designed to sync with iTunes. They developed it, funded it, and marketed it. Why is blocking a competitor's phone from using it a crime for you Apple lovers?

If the competitor's phone is so amazingly wonderful and faultless as wind drive snow why not let them develop their own sync product for their products instead of using Apple's? The irony is most of you cry babies would be bitching IF Apple forced every product to sync only with iTunes.

For all you genius miserable iPhone owners that scorn the travesty of iTunes and the iPhone; no one forced you to buy an Apple product. No one forced you on AT&T. Go whine somewhere else.


By inighthawki on 7/16/2009 6:49:36 PM , Rating: 3
who said anything about me being an apple lover? i have a rather strong dislike for all of apple's products, including ipods, iphones, itunes, etc. I don't own a palm pre either, but i would like to voice my opinion from the backgrounds to get my thought on the issue, and while i own NONE of the above things, i would like to make it clear that i STILL think this is a very unfair gesture on apple's part, especially when something as silly as including IE with windows is being taken as monopolistic behavior.

Apple is trying to shut out all of its competition, and theyve been doing things like this for a while. Everyone knows that itunes has a very large user database, and people arent going to switch to other syncing software just for the palm pre when they like itunes and the itunes store. While i understand that you feel that apple has all the rights to not include support, its still a step in the wrong direction to purposely REMOVE support.

You need to understand the different between not providing third party support and purposely blocking third party support. Even if apple doesnt support it, it is anti-competative to make an update to purposely break support with third party products.


By Motoman on 7/16/2009 3:15:29 PM , Rating: 2
This is the most colossal fail ever.

The Synch function of iTunes/iPods is what we call "a competitive advantage" - it's a differentiator that consumers can use to decide whethere they want to use Apple products or somebody else's.

A competitive advantage is not illegal. And when a company has a competitive advantage, they aren't obliged to give it to everyone else in the market to "even the playing field" or any such BS. If they did, why would anyone ever innovate anything? If every time you developed a unique feature that differentiated your product from everyone else's you had to just give it to them, why would you bother in the first place?

You people fundamentally do not know what a monopoly is, what a commodity is, and what competitive differentiation is. Please go brush up on Economics 101 and Business 101 and then correct all your mistaken ideas.


By segerstein on 7/17/2009 5:08:27 AM , Rating: 4
OpenOffice's reading of .doc could also be considered an unauthorized hack.
What about reading FAT32? Samba protocols for Windows networking?

iTunes sells more music that Wal-Mart in the US, but should work seamlessly only with iPod and iPhone?

This is abuse of dominant market position, trying to gain advantage in another market by crippling competitors' products. Lotus in MS-DOS?


By Manch on 7/15/2009 11:10:27 PM , Rating: 3
What if...

To draw a parallel, should Intel be required to make all of their motherboards drop-in compatible for an AMD? If AMD happened to have a CPU that would bolt up to a Intel motherboard, and then Intel re-designed the motherboard and it wouldn't, do you think AMD has an antitrust claim?

Sometimes I feel like I'm beating a dead horse
I dont know why you're bringing me down

Sorry reading this post got that song stuck in my head, which is sometime around when I first heard this tired argument. Of course feel free to replace the two companies and their products with whoever.

Microsoft vs Netsccape etc....

It's like daily tech mad libs!


By RjBass on 7/16/2009 12:59:58 AM , Rating: 3
Actually AMD can and has in the past made Intel compatible cpu's for Intel boards. They were one of, if not the only other major manufacturer to make cpu's for Intel.

I am probably wrong, but i think they still can to if they choose to.


By Alexstarfire on 7/15/2009 11:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
No, to draw a parallel it would be like requiring all Toyota cars to make sure they are running Toyota engines.

Ohh, and the same would be said about the Intel vs AMD argument. It'd be like if AMD made a CPU to work in Intel motherboards, but then Intel decided to add code into the BIOS to make sure it could only run Intel CPUs.

The problem with the two arguments you two made is that it would only apply to new products, not old. What Apple did affects ALL products ever made provided you update iTunes. Not that you have to, but considering the security updates and bug fixes that go into them, as well as new features every now and then, staying on a version that works isn't always an option. It affects those who have already purchased the product and they have NO say in it what-so-ever. The same does not apply to the "parallels" that you two have provided.


By T2k on 7/16/2009 10:09:26 AM , Rating: 2
Macfarts are truly pathetic - they are the perfect examples of double standards: if Chief Mactard Jobs do it then it's fine, he's just developing his own world but if say, Chief Wintard Gates did it then OMG, MONOPOLY...!

I always said this and still believe it: if Apple would be in MS place in the past 15 years we would be living in a MUCH WORSE world right now - most likely we would be working on the latest-gen G4s with a whopping 1.2Ghz and 2GB memory and drooling over the newly announced 1GHz G5 which would be completely priced out of any regular individual with its $4k (single-CPU) pricetag.

Apple IS a monopoly on its own, it's never been a question no its truly disgusting, greedy, market abusing tactics - they are pretty much the same as Microsoft except they are way more agressive and disgusting at it.

The only question is which country will be the first to smack them down hard?

EU/France already delivered a blow for them when they ordered interoperability (RIGHTFULLY SO!) and I recall when UK taught a lesson to Jobs about LYING in your ads, claiming utter BS about your products (a nice story about typical US business ethics, damage well done, greed PoS Apple, thank you.)


By Cerin218 on 7/16/2009 6:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
Umm... They are being monopolistic by allowing only products they create to work together and disabling the ability for another device to be used. Would you buy an ipod if your pre could store your music library on it instead of an overpriced piece of trendy plastic? No $299 for Steve. I thought Apple was dumb as crap in the 80's when you had to buy all hardware and software from them. As the PC market grew competition created hardware advances and price drops. But if you had an Apple you were locked into what they chose to feed you. And the prices were always higher for Apple vs PC regardless of the Hardware/Software. That's when I vowed not to buy Apple ever. A device that has one way storage? It goes to the device but can't come back? and you are only authorized 5 devices to house the library and transfer their DRM filled songs? Explain that to my friends that have had their computer crashed and lost their itunes library. The first thing they ask is "isn't there a copy on my ipod?" Apple's suggestion to to re rip their whole cd library. If I was a technologically illiterate sheep maybe. A DRM free mp3 on a device I can synch with anything and transfer both ways seemed a much better choice for my money. So I would say, yes, they are abusing their power to hurt consumers and competition. No one is free to develop competing itunes. Or seemingly products that are interoperable with it. Not having choices hurts consumers. Consumers benefit from choice.

To draw a parallel, Toyota shouldn't have to make parts that drop into the Ford, but they should have to share the same road. All the Pre is trying to do is get to a destination. What Apple is saying is unless you own our Toyota, you are not allowed drive on the same road (road being an analogy for itunes software.


By Smilin on 7/17/2009 9:56:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Um...monopolistic behavior means abusing market power to hurt consumers by keeping away competition.


That's exactly what is happening.

Do you think Palm could go release a product that competes with iTunes? No. Apple pretty much has that market locked up. The remaining competitors are scrapping over small percent market share.

Apple has tied another product to iTunes called the iPhone. Now what if someone comes along with a better product than the iPhone. It's a fair fight right? Wrong.

Apple is leveraging it's monopoly in digital music downloads to boost iPhone sales (nothing wrong with that) however they are now altering the product that they have a monopoly with so that it shoves competition out of other markets. That's abusing a monopoly.

If you disagree, then go ask Netscape and Lotus what they think about it.


"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson














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