Apple 1 - Palm 0 On iTunes Synchronization War

Illustration for article titled Apple 1 - Palm 0 On iTunes Synchronization War

Bad news for Palm. They have been trying to plug into the iPod/iPhone ecosystem by forging the Pre's USB identification number, with Apple smashing their efforts with each iTunes update. Now, the USB Implementers Forum says that they should stop.


Palm whined to the USB-IF about how Apple was blocking them every time they tried to circumvent their vendor ID-based anti-non-iPod-devices system. Here's part of the USB-IF reply:

Palm may only use the single Vendor ID issued to Palm for Palm's usage….Usage of another company's Vendor ID is specifically precluded.

Basically, what Palm is doing is against the rules of USB, and Palm should stop doing it. What is more, the USB-IF says that Apple has all the right to do what they are doing, since it's not agains the rules:

Palm's allegation (if true) does not establish that Apple is using its Vendor ID contrary to USB-IF's policies.

Palm told Business Week that they are going to reply to the USB Implementers Forum because they believe the users have the right to use whatever device they want to use their non-rights managed media. They are right, especially when Apple has an almost-monopolistic position on the software music player market, and they are trying to get a hold of it by limiting access to their own devices. However, maybe they should take the matter to the FTC instead of going against the rules. [Business Week]


George Dimitrakopoulos

The biggest problem to me is that iTunes is not just an iPod application - it's the default media player on OSX! Because of this, blocking another media device from using this app is anti-competitive. Not only is it anti-competitive, but it's not customer friendly either. I don't quite agree with how Palm is handling this, but if I was an OSX user, I would feel cheated that my default media player blocks my favorite devices from utilizing its services.

The iPod doesn't sync with WMP because Apple wants people to download iTunes. If they did update the iPod to interface with WMP, Microsoft would not block them from doing so. And if they did outright block the iPod, this too would be anti-competitive.