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Print 81 comment(s) - last by themaster08.. on Jul 17 at 6:02 PM


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 themaster08 on 7/16/2009 5:37:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What lock-in? Please demonstrate how turning off the HACK that Palm made to fraudluently trick iTunes into thinking a Pre is an iPod prevents you from using iTunes in conjunction with your Pre.

Putting it bluntly, if Apple had a readily available API for iTunes for those companies wishing to enable their devices to sync with iTunes, in my opinion they should be able to freely do so. Why shouldn't they? Because they have their own hardware? So what? The iTunes user base extends beyond those with just iPods. Why not accomodate for everyone?

The lock-in is that without a hack, you cannot sync the Pre using iTunes. You have to use Apple hardware. I'm sure for those with Mac computers and OSX, which iTunes is the main music player/organizer, this is very convenient indeed. I think with that said, it's pretty clear to see how this is a lock-in, particularly for those with Apple computers.

quote:
And while you're at it, please demonstrate how it would be anti-competitive in any way, shape, or form, if Apple somehow actually did truly make iTunes incompatible with any music players other than their own.

I never said anything about being anti-competitive. This is purely simple convenience for users of iTunes. The inability to sync a Pre without said hack is a prime example of Apple's disrespect for the users of it's software. Just because there's nothing in it for Apple, that doesn't mean they cannot benefit the consumers. That way they might actually gain some respect, which they are sorely lacking right now.

quote:
Please, please, please - demonstrate how it is possible, in any universe, for anyone to have a monopoly on a pure commodity like .mp3s.

Perhaps it's not a monopoly per se, but there is no doubt that Apple is a massive player in .mp3 sales. Just because it's a commodity, that doesn't mean the provider of that commodity can't use unfair business practices to stifle the competition in another market. Apple is using the massive power it holds with iTunes unfairly towards other hardware manufacturers, and more importantly, it's users, to benefit themselves in the music player market.


By Motoman on 7/17/2009 10:13:29 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Putting it bluntly, if Apple had a readily available API for iTunes for those companies wishing to enable their devices to sync with iTunes, in my opinion they should be able to freely do so. Why shouldn't they? Because they have their own hardware? So what? The iTunes user base extends beyond those with just iPods. Why not accomodate for everyone?


You are so wrong here it is difficult to know where to begin. First of all, your opinion on the matter has no bearing. Apple has not published an API, and they have no need, ethically or legally, to do so. If the iTunes/iPod combo has a competitive advantage, such as the Synch function, then good for Apple. If they want to retain their competitive advantage (and what sane company wouldn't?), that's up to them.

quote:
The lock-in is that without a hack, you cannot sync the Pre using iTunes. You have to use Apple hardware. I'm sure for those with Mac computers and OSX, which iTunes is the main music player/organizer, this is very convenient indeed. I think with that said, it's pretty clear to see how this is a lock-in, particularly for those with Apple computers.


Epic fail. There is no need to use the Synch function to get .mp3s from iTunes onto your Pre, or onto any other music player. Aside from that, even if iTunes worked with no other devices than iPods at all, it still would be a thoroughly legal arrangement - but as is, there is NOTHING that prevents you from using iTunes with non-Apple music players. NOTHING.

quote:
I never said anything about being anti-competitive. This is purely simple convenience for users of iTunes. The inability to sync a Pre without said hack is a prime example of Apple's disrespect for the users of it's software. Just because there's nothing in it for Apple, that doesn't mean they cannot benefit the consumers. That way they might actually gain some respect, which they are sorely lacking right now.


You hit it on the head, sort of. The Synch feature is a convenience to owners of Apple hardware using it with Apple software. The last half of your statement is just you bitching about the fact that, in your opinion, Apple *should* open it up to others. The problem is that this is just your OPINION, which has not the slightest bearing on what Apple needs to do, from an ethical or legal standpoint. I am sure that Pre owners, and owners of any non-Apple music players, would prefer that Apple gave them the Synch feature because it is ever-so-slightly more convenient than dragging-and-dropping your music around. However, there is not the slightest basis for anyone to complain about the fact that Apple chooses to provide extra functionality to customers with Apple hardware. There is NO BASIS for you to accuse Apple of any wrongdoing, at all, period.

quote:
Perhaps it's not a monopoly per se, but there is no doubt that Apple is a massive player in .mp3 sales. Just because it's a commodity, that doesn't mean the provider of that commodity can't use unfair business practices to stifle the competition in another market. Apple is using the massive power it holds with iTunes unfairly towards other hardware manufacturers, and more importantly, it's users, to benefit themselves in the music player market.


Yes, it does. You can by .mp3s from any other source you want without penalty. Apple has no basis from which to abuse any consumers in this manner. If Apple started doing something with their .mp3 service that you don't like, you can simply stop using their service and use another service instead to get .mp3s, and there is no difference in the product you recieve in the end. NO DIFFERENCE.


By themaster08 on 7/17/2009 6:02:07 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
First of all, your opinion on the matter has no bearing.

Welcome to DailyTech. Articles are posted to which people express their opinions. Nothing that anybody says in these articles has any bearing or impact whatsoever on the outcome of the topic in the article itself. Idiot.

quote:
Apple has not published an API, and they have no need, ethically or legally, to do so.

I know they have not published an API. Perhaps I worded my last post incorrectly. However, you get my point.

quote:
If the iTunes/iPod combo has a competitive advantage, such as the Synch function, then good for Apple. If they want to retain their competitive advantage (and what sane company wouldn't?), that's up to them.

I'm not trying to argue this. All of what I say is with the mind set of Microsoft being in a similar position with Media Player and using it as a comparison to how one party is treated different to another.

quote:
The last half of your statement is just you bitching about the fact that, in your opinion, Apple *should* open it up to others.

The whole of your post is just you bitching about my opinion as if to say I'm not entitled to one, and what you say goes.

quote:
Yes, it does. You can by .mp3s from any other source you want without penalty. Apple has no basis from which to abuse any consumers in this manner.

Completely missed the point. How is it not possible for a company with a large amount of power in one market to abuse this power to gain an advantage in another market they are in? It's happened many times in the past, how can it not happen in this situation?

quote:
The problem is that this is just your OPINION, which has not the slightest bearing on what Apple needs to do, from an ethical or legal standpoint.

I'll paraphrase my first paragraph. This is an asinine statement.

quote:
. I am sure that Pre owners, and owners of any non-Apple music players, would prefer that Apple gave them the Synch feature because it is ever-so-slightly more convenient than dragging-and-dropping your music around.

What's wrong with wanting convenience? Software with a large user base, that extends further than users of the developers hardware, should accomodate for all of it's users. It shouldn't treat any of it's users differently due to their music player preference.

quote:
If Apple started doing something with their .mp3 service that you don't like, you can simply stop using their service and use another service instead to get .mp3s

So basically you're saying that if you don't like their business ethics you can simply discard them and use a competitors service, which I fully agree with.

However, why is it that one company can be treated in this manner, when another (Microsoft) is treated in a completely different manner on the same basis? Doesn't Internet Explorer and the E.U come to mind?

I can only imagine the lawsuits that Microsoft would have to face if they closed off Media Player for all but their own Windows Mobile/Zune based devices. More than likely it would be Apple complaining about this when they're guilty of the exact same thing. They do it all the time.


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