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Another day; another futile attempt to lock competitors out of iTunes comes from Apple

Apple likes to keep its popular products within tight cages where it stands to maximize its revenue and profits.  Unfortunately, they keep slipping out.  From Psystar unleashing super-simple software support for creating Snow Leopard Hackintoshes, to the iPhone unlockers, Apple's products frequently have been getting unlocked and freed of restrictions.  And most offensive of all to Apple is Palm's Pre smart phone that has been tweaked to work with iTunes, thanks undoubtedly in part to new CEO Jon Rubinstein's intimate knowledge of the iPod hardware and software (he was a former Apple executive).

When the Pre came out, Apple quickly moved to kill the feature, about a month after the phone was released.  An iTunes update temporarily killed the functionality... until about 9 days later when a Pre firmware update restored it.

Much like Apple's "cat and mouse" game with the iPhone unlockers, Apple keeps at it, though, trying to lock out its rival.  ITunes 9.0.2, released Thursday brings support for the 3.0 firmware of Apple's set-top box, Apple TV.  More importantly, it locks out the Pre, yet again.  While iTunes will still launch when you connect your Pre (apparently partially connecting to the program) the Pre won't show up in the side bar, and songs won't transfer.

If you want to grab the update Apple is more than happy to provide it to you in its 88.5 MB entirety.  The update is available for Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later, Windows Vista 64, Windows XP SP 2 or later, and Windows 7.

Palm currently is struggling to find support in the tech community for its defiance of Apple's locking ways.  The USB Implementers Forum rejected a complaint from Palm in September, stating that Apple had every right to lock third party devices out of its software.  The Forum added insult to injury by admonishing Palm for using Apple's USB vendor ID to have iTunes recognize the Pre as an iPod.

Wrote the group, "Under the Policy, Palm may only use the single Vendor ID issued to Palm for Palm’s usage.  Usage of any other company’s Vendor ID is specifically precluded. Palm’s expressed intent to use Apple’s VID appears to violate the attached policy."

While there's no shortage of music programs that can sync with the Pre, for users with iPods (which represents a major portion of users), using iTunes is often more convenient as they don't have to go through the sometimes time-consuming process of transferring their library into a new program.

Apple hasn't been able to keep the unlockers out for very long, but it has been on a roll the last couple weeks.  It first patched the iPhone's shipped firmware to make new iPhones incapable of current jailbreak methods.  And now it has shut Palm out of its private party as well.

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Palm has a nitwit strategy
By Tony Swash on 10/30/2009 8:37:45 AM , Rating: -1
What a nitwit strategy Palm has. Its like Google deciding to tie one of its key products to a piece of Microsoft software that gets its code changed very couple of months. The only reason I can why Palm does this (instead of writing its own software to access the iTunes database - a trivial and legal exercise) is that it keeps the Palm Pre name popping up in the news. No wonder Palm's market shared crashed.

RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By davidgoscinny on 10/30/2009 8:52:02 AM , Rating: 2
That's exactly why they're doing it. RIM released a Mac OS X software suite that does things the right way by using the iTunes singe XML file (which is very well documented by Apple) to sync everything on iTunes to your BlackBerry (save for old FairPlay DRMed music files).

Palm is just trying everything it can to get attention.

RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By Chudilo on 10/30/2009 11:00:14 AM , Rating: 2
Instead of trying to be detrimental to themselves and trying to overcome problems using someone-else's bad software, why not be productive and contribute to the Songbird project. It is very similar to iTunes and yet so much more functional. That would be good publicity Palm and make them Good guys that are looking out for the interests of all music lovers everywhere.

RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By Goty on 10/30/2009 8:55:54 AM , Rating: 3
There's also the whole fact that itunes is the most popular mp3 download service as well as the most popular music player on the PC, meaning most of the people buying the Pre would probably already be familiar with the software.

I don't know about you, but that seems like a pretty big selling point.

RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By axias41 on 10/30/2009 1:30:12 PM , Rating: 2
iTunes the most popular music player on the PC? You mean on a MAC PC, not a Windows PC. iTunes for Windows is totally bloated.

RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By adiposity on 10/30/2009 2:36:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it is. And it sucks.


Wait for it...

It is the most used, yes, on Windows PCs.

Over half the people at my company use iTunes to play and organize their music, most of them not even buying a single song from the store. I used to be bewildered, but now I guess it's just a "mindshare" issue.


RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By axias41 on 10/30/2009 6:24:23 PM , Rating: 2
Your company != world.

RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By Goty on 10/31/2009 1:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
... and your sample set is?

Oh, just you, ok.

RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By kmmatney on 10/30/2009 11:17:18 PM , Rating: 2
iTunes is a bit bloated, but just about everything is these days. I've have tried several alternatives, but in the end didn't find any other programs to better, so just went back to using iTunes.

Everybody in my company uses iTunes as well - its not hard to believe that its the most popular music manager for the PC.

RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By retrospooty on 10/30/2009 8:57:20 AM , Rating: 2
"No wonder Palm's market shared crashed."

Palm market share crashed because they totally stopped innovating, and thier quality sucked rocks. 3 years after the Treo 600 they had the Treo 750. Same design, like 1mm thinner, better screen and lost the external antennae. Not alot of progress for 3 years, and the quality still sucked - alot of defects in and out of repair constantly. Meanwhile Apple comes along with a home run the first time at bat.

RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By Jeffk464 on 10/30/2009 9:11:41 AM , Rating: 2
I agree completely, I don't see why they don't just work with amazon for music downloads and right their own software for the PC. I personally don't like Itunes or the Ipod, I prefer more open software/hardware so I'm not restricted on my usage. OS X is like 10% of the market so why worry about it?

RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By adiposity on 10/30/2009 2:37:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's not about OS X. It's about iTunes. Jeez.


RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By lantzn on 10/30/2009 5:56:49 PM , Rating: 2
He's right it's about iTunes.

However, just a few years ago the Mac marketshare was under 3% and Windows was 98%. Today we see Mac at 10-12% (depending on the source) and Windows at 90%. So the one is growing which says a lot. UNIX rocks!

RE: Palm has a nitwit strategy
By kmmatney on 10/30/2009 11:25:21 PM , Rating: 2
The ipod is not really restricted - at least basic players like the nano and classic aren't. There are plenty of other apps I can use with my nano to fill it with music, such as Yamipod, Media Monkey, and many others. You can even run Yamipod straight from the nano itself, so your music manager is directly on the device and portable. If anything, you are LESS restriced if you buy an ipod, as there are many alternative programs out there.

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