Palm Complains About iTunes Lockout - InformationWeek

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12:23 PM

Palm Complains About iTunes Lockout

By filing a claim with the USB Implementers Forum, Palm hopes to make Apple open up its iTunes software.

(click image for larger view)
Palm Pre Smartphone

Palm has filed a complaint with the USB Implementers Forum claiming Apple is restricting trade by not allowing the Pre smartphone to use iTunes to sync and manage content.

The Pre is a touchscreen rival to Apple's iPhone series, and one of its most appealing factors when it launched was that it could use Apple's iTunes for synching and managing media files.

Many other devices and smartphones such as Research In Motion's BlackBerry can use Apple media software for transferring music with additional software. But the Pre essentially spoofs its USB vendor ID to make iTunes believe it is an iPod, which is a method that's not explicitly approved by the USB governing board.

Apple moved quickly to block this capability with an iTunes update, but Palm struck back about a week later with an over-the-air Pre update that restored the capability. The cat-and-mouse game will likely continue over the next few iTunes and Pre firmware updates until the USB Forum issues a decision. The body did not indicate when it would respond to Palm's filing.

For Apple, the iTunes ecosystem has been a major reason why it was able to dominate the personal media player market with its iPod lineup, and the company won't give up this advantage without a fight. Additionally, some industry watchers believe the main benefit of iTunes is making Apple's hardware more appealing, as the company doesn't generate much profits from selling digital music due to the royalties it pays the music industry.

Most companies are just starting the hard work of mobilizing workforces by bringing the software they use to smartphones. InformationWeek analyzed this issue in an independent report, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).

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