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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 Motoman on 7/17/2009 12:20:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Apple doesn't sell MP3s. They sell M4A or AAC (whatever).


...that's funny, then all of the .mp3s that people get from iTunes are getting hacked into there from some other nefarious source? Better double-check that pally. IIRC, Apple did start out with iTunes only doing a proprietary format that well and truly did only work on iPods - shutting out all other hardware from being used with their service. Which was perfectly legal and ethical in every sense to start with. But later they decided to sell .mp3s that were universally compatible, being the pure commodity that they are, and people who use other music players flocked to iTunes because they like the service.

quote:
AFAIK, this is not at all like Windows Update, because the Palm device is updating using software running on the user's machine.


...I don't see any way that you're making sense here. The analogy is for an electronic service that synchronizes files/data from a server to a client. Windows Update only works with Microsoft products, and no one complains that it doesn't work with Apple or Linux, because it would be moronically idiotic to do so. It is blatantly obvious that Windows Update can/will only work with MS products, and it is blatantly obvious that there is no cause to expect MS to make it work with Apple or Linux products. iTunes Synch works with Apple products. It is every bit as obvious that there is no cause to expect Apple to make this feature work with MS, Palm, or other products...and that is the end of the story. MS is not abusing anybody by making WU only work with Windows, and Apple is not abusing anybody by making the Synch feature only work with iPods.

quote:
In the world of Lossy audio, Apple is the overwhelming dominant player, and nothing is likely to change, that. Apple, just like MS, goes out of their way to make it hard for users to switch to a non-apple device.


Point the first: Apple has a commanding marketshare in the .mp3 market. That fact has no bearing on anything else, because it is a pure commodity market and it is a fundamental impssibility for such a marketshare to segue into a monopoly position. Point the second: Of course Apple wants people to buy/use iPods. To assert otherwise is the height of stupidity. If the Synch feature is a competitive advantage making the Apple solution look more appealing...then it looks more appealing, and good for Apple. On the flipside, if you buy a Ford with a Zune interface, that makes the Zune have a competitive advantage...Apple need not open up their Synch function anymore than Ford and/or MS must open up that Zune connection. A competitive advantage is just that: differentiation between products/services. It is not inethical or illegal - if it were, no one would ever innovate anything, because they'd have to give their innovation to everyone else in the market.

quote:
Could they use some other software? Sure, but most will not, because they dont' know any better. Many are likely unaware of anything else.


BS. I don't think there's a single iTunes user who isn't aware that they can get .mp3s from virtually anywhere else. And besides, consumer ignorance of other available sources is no one's fault but the lazy ignorant consumer's.

quote:
It may not be illegal, but most of us can see that given a chance, Apple will turn out to be at least as evil as MS was in the 90's (and while I like MS products, they were positively unethical in their business practices).


Apple is plenty evil, and has been for a very long time. But choosing to retain the competitive advantage that the Synch feature gives them has nothing to do with that.

quote:
Apple isn't any better. In fact, given the fact that they've actually sued web journalists for being journalists, I'd say they've already exceeded MS in some respects.


We are in complete agreement on this fact.


"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer














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