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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 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.

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