Daniel Eran Dilger
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Why Apple is killing the Pre via iTunes

Rd.Pre.Itunes

Daniel Eran Dilger
Several readers have asked me to comment on the brouhaha between Apple and Palm regarding iTunes syncing, either to castigate Apple for throwing roadblocks in front of its weaker competitor, or to complain that Palm is unfairly trying to appropriate Apple’s software. However, I don’t think Palm is even on Apple’s radar as a threat. Instead, Apple’s efforts to block the Pre are really aimed at a larger target. Here’s why.
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Back when Palm first announced its plans to ‘force’ iTunes to sync with its new Palm Pre phone, I assumed it was hype being used to associate the fledgling new effort with the established media attention focused on the iPhone and iTunes itself. Everybody knew Apple could stop Palm, although I suggested that doing so wasn’t in Apple’s interests. While I still think that Palm is no threat to Apple, I can understand why Apple would want to kill the Pre’s ability to use iTunes.

Palm Pre: The Emperor’s New Phone
Why Apple’s Tim Cook Did Not Threaten Palm Pre
The Imagined War between Apple and Palm: Pre vs. iPhone

This all happened before
Palm’s strategy sounded a lot like Real Network’s efforts to bolster its struggling DRM subscription music business by “tricking” the iPod into playing back the company’s Helix DRM songs. Apple didn’t want Real to push its DRM into the iPod, not because Apple was the evil monopolist as certain pundits were trying to suggest, but because Apple was working toward pushing the music industry toward supporting DRM-free downloads instead.

Back then, the idiot ranks of punditry were all insisting that Apple had “locked in” iPod users with iTunes’ FairPlay DRM, and didn’t want to offer Real a chance to compete with its own version of DRM. In reality, it was painfully obvious even at that time that Apple’s real goal was to wean the music downloads business off of DRM, not because Apple was “anti-DRM,” but because it was not in Apple’s interests to try to sell impossibly difficult-to-secure DRM downloads while the labels were already selling DRM-free music on CD.

All DRM was doing in music was repressing the growth of legitimate downloads and making unauthorized distribution more attractive to consumers. Every time Steve Jobs had offered a comment on the music business, it reflected this unchanging view.

Apple wasn’t afraid that Real’s DRM would win against its own FairPlay DRM when exposed to competition in a fair market; it was primarily concerned that this nonsense of “competition” in licensing the same commodity music from the same labels using different DRM would take hold and allow Microsoft to turn back the clock for a few more years of trying to stuff Pandora’s DRM-free music back into the Windows Media Audio DRM box. (And I mean Pandora the mythical allegory, not Pandora the radio service).

After all, if Apple were forced to support Real’s DRM on the iPod, it would also be forced to support Microsoft’s. Windows Enthusiasts have long complained that iPods contained the latent capability to play back WMA DRM, if only Apple could be forced to pay Microsoft to license its use. This would effectively allow Microsoft to leverage the popularity and goodwill of the iPod to force adoption of its WMA DRM.

Rather than comprehending how terrible it would be to have some fake competition in DRM, where one of the competitors was an 800lb gorilla that was exempt from obeying US law and court-ordered consent decrees throughout the last two decades, rather than real competition in selling inherently interoperable music without DRM, idiot pundits tried to make Apple out as bad while championing the largely irrelevant Real. Wittingly or not, they were actually rooting for Microsoft to prevail with its draconian form of DRM.

Apple quickly acted to thwart Real’s ability to trick the iPod into playing back its Helix DRM using updates to iTunes to kill support for it. Apple had already prevented Microsoft from “embracing and extinguishing” the iPod with “support” for it in the Xbox. What looked like anti-competitive, protectionist behavior from Apple actually resulted in an open market for DRM-free audio in AAC or MP3 formats that any modern player can use. Music from iTunes can play on a Corwin, Creative, SanDisk or Walkman, and music from Amazon or eMusic can play on the iPod.

Apple killed Real’s DRM in order to kill Microsoft’s DRM so it wouldn’t have to maintain its own FairPlay DRM in iTunes, sort of like the West seeking to stop North Korea and Iran from producing nuclear weapons so that, ideally in a fantasy utopian future, there could be some hope of ridding the world of nukes entirely. Except that Apple actually pulled off the global elimination of music DRM.

Having lost any possible capacity to dominate the music industry with DRM, Microsoft has largely given up on its efforts to sell music entirely, and most, if not all, of the PlaysForSure stores selling WMA DRM are now closed.

How FairPlay Works: Apple’s iTunes DRM Dilemma
BBC’s Bill Thompson Hates Being Fingered As a Fraud
Steve Jobs and the iTunes DRM Threat to Microsoft

Palm repeats Real’s mistake
Today, Palm is attempting to do something similar by forcing iTunes to sync with its new phone. As I outlined earlier, Apple fears no direct threat from the Pre; in fact, Apple actually benefits from a smartphone market where there are multiple vendors offering a diversity of options. Apple would be in a much more difficult Mac vs Windows game if the only other competitor in smartphones were Nokia or Google’s Android or even Windows Mobile.

The more competitors, the better Apple does because the company competes on merit. That’s why the iPod could decimate a wide range of competing alternatives, including much larger and experienced companies like Sony. None of the iPod’s competitors could inhale all of the market’s oxygen. The iPhone is doing the same thing in a crowded market of hundreds of phone models, scores of vendors, and a variety of different platforms. For Apple, the more the merrier.

Alternatively, Apple was hard pressed to compete against Microsoft in the Mac vs. Windows PC market because there were no distracting competitors of any significance. At first, this was because Apple itself repressed Microsoft’s primary PC competitors in the graphical computing market through a series of “look and feel” lawsuits in the era before software patents. Microsoft could then use its exclusive licensing contracts to kill off IBM’s OS/2 and prevent any upstarts from entering the PC OS business. That left Apple competing against one major company with collective market power.

In smartphones, Apple has welcomed competition as long as those competitors don’t violate the company’s patents. The nonsense of Apple trying to stop Palm is simply pundit theater. What Apple is trying to stop is the unlicensed use of iTunes by another company. In the case of Palm, the Pre’s use of iTunes is really not that damaging to Apple. However, as was the case with Real, if Apple allows Palm to leverage iTunes, Apple will not only assume informal responsibility for supporting the Pre, but will also have to extend that support to every other competitor, including Microsoft.

Imagine if Microsoft–or Nokia–shipped a phone or music player that used iTunes to obtain music and sync data without using the proper sync APIs Apple offers. Stopping the Pre isn’t about Palm, it’s about Apple protecting itself from inheriting the work of supporting the unofficial use of its products to deliver competition that Apple must subsidize, even while that competitor berates Apple’s own products.

Even if Apple achieves a dominant share of the smartphone market, it does not have the responsibility to support competing devices in iTunes in the same way that Microsoft is being prodded to level the playing field in web browsers and media playback on Windows (at least in Europe, where the rule of law still prevails). That’s because there are no barriers for entry for Palm or other vendors to deliver their own media sync software. If the day comes when you can’t buy a smartphone that isn’t from Apple, then there will be antitrust issues to solve.

Apple’s Billion Dollar Patent Bluster
Office Wars 3 – How Microsoft Got Its Office Monopoly

Palm 09 = Windows 95
This iTunes-syncing issue isn’t what I wanted to write about however. The story that I find much more interesting concerns a highly touted feature that has anti-Apple critics lauding the Palm Pre with hyperbole suspiciously similar to that used in the hyperventilating that surrounded the launch of Windows 95. As was the case back then, they were wrong, and the next article will demonstrate why.

Palm Pre: The Emperor’s New Phone

  • Orenge

    “if Apple allows Palm to leverage iTunes, Apple will not only assume informal responsibility for supporting the Pre, but will also have to extend that support to every other competitor, including Microsoft.”

    Excellent analysis.

  • truthseeker

    So glad you discussed the real issue: DRM. “Draconian” excellent word choice describing what would have happened in a DRM-dominated world. Also, thanks for clarifying the concept of “antitrust.” I do not think the day will ever come that Apple’s is the only smartphone on the market. Why? Because I honestly believe that Apple is not an evil company hell-bent on forcing us to use their products by wiping everything else out. They don’t have to: they make quality stuff that people truly want and seek out. They exist due to merit and not monoply. Companies and governments and so forth that resort to monopoly do so because they suck.

  • bartfat

    well, Apple never really wanted to take over 100% of any market, only Microsoft dreams of that now. As Tim Cook said, they want to build the best products because that’s what grows the brand and makes profit. But I don’t really understand why Apple would be forced to support Palm and Microsoft (if they developed a phone of their own) in iTunes.. Palm is using a hack to support syncing in iTunes, so obviously it’s unsupported. It’s clear that Palm would prefer to use iTunes so that the consumer doesn’t have to worry about using another piece of software… it gives Palm the bonus of having a similar easy-to-use interface. I suppose they did it this way instead of creating their own media player to sync because they figured trying to recreate a interface similar to iTunes was duplicating work on their part and probably pricey to develop for not much gain.

    But I can see the support issues that might crop up in Apple’s forums or stores if Palm is still hacking to keep syncing with iTunes, since it’s obviously not an iPod. Still, Rubenstein HAD to have something to do with this, and it’s highly likely that he knows more than a thing or two about iPod syncing. But I wonder if Palm will tread on some of Apple’s patents if it syncs with iTunes… especially given that they used inside information to hack it.

    Sorry, I don’t really see the connection between Palm and Real Networks, one’s trying to REPLACE iTunes, the other is simply trying to sync to it, far from replacing it. Overall, pretty decent article, you obviously did your homework, but I don’t really see the connection.

  • John E

    i don’t get it. many third party devices can access and play no-DRM media from an iTunes library (and iPhoto too), including playlists (and photo albums), via DLNA cross-platform support. like my TiVo and PS3. even copy the music files. Must be OK with Apple, been going on for several years. this article omits the important discussion of DLNA.

    if the Pre or any smartphone does that via DLNA, what is the difference? true, the other third party devices do not show up inside the iTunes sidebar, so you can’t drag and drop to transfer files. instead you have to navigate to them via the other device’s own software, locating other media “servers” – your library on your Mac – but that is a relatively minor difference (unless of course there is no such software – the Pre has none yet?).

    is it just how the Pre barges its way “inside” the iTunes window/software that is the problem, using it as its own interface control? i can see that cheesy rip-off as something Apple wants to stop. but it’s not a philosophical issue. it’s not about closing off your iTunes library from outside device access – even other smartphones.

  • mr_kitty

    The Palm Pre masquerades as an Apple device by spoofing the USB Manufacturer ID. THIS is the problem, as it negates iTune’s security mechanisms designed to determine the identity of the devices attached.

    If iTunes can be made to think anything is an iPod, then theoretically anyone can spoof the iPod IDs and become supported destinations for iTunes transfer. Not only mobile phones, but PVR and Tivo like devices… I’m sure the MPAA — who are still addicted to DRM — have nightmares about that. (I realize there is other authentication involved in the fairplay DRM, but security holes weaken Apple’s position in negotiating new content for the store.)

    Ultimately, Palm *could* develop its own iTunes clone and transfer the DRM-free media purchased on the iTunes store and there would be no issue. Instead, for whatever reason, be it publicity or laziness, they have chosen to steal Apple’s development resource investment and pirate access to iTunes.

    What’s really offensive to me is that they have the audacity to advertise iTunes sync functionality. There is NO way they can warranty that continuing to work, so they are essentially advertising as a feature a functionality which may — and probably will — at some point in the future break.

  • http://blog.cytv.com cy_starkman

    Ah it’s probably because Jon Rubinstein was responsible for the iPod while he worked at Apple and therefore knows how iTunes and the iPod connect together quite well.

    And as there is the alleged spat between Jon and Steve, it probably adds up to no more than a childlike nyah nyah on his behalf.

    That and the old coat tails story, he must have forgotten how slippery they were

  • Pingback: RDM: Why Apple is killing the Pre via iTunes « Day and Age()

  • http://jonnytilney.com Jon T

    I find it hard to comprehend how you put all this stuff together so cogently. But glad you do.

    And your next article Dan, I hope, is about multi-tasking…

    Am I right?

  • http://www.adviespraktijk.info Berend Schotanus

    The big issue is: who owns the metadata?

    Apple has encouraged their customers to use Macs for organising their personal lives. The idea of iTunes, the iLife suite, in fact the whole Mac is that you put your personal music, personal pictures, personal contacts, personal agenda into your computer, organise it and it works all together seamless.
    So people use iTunes to categorise their music in music styles, arrange them in playlists, give them ratings, add album illustrations etc. A task that can take a lot of time.

    Once they have done that they fins themselves trapped into buying Apple products. Not only Apple computers but also Apple music players and now Apple mobile phones. Tell me one exit strategy as a customer in order to exchange an Apple product for another brand, you will see there is none. Sure you can call that smart marketing strategy and it is. But the flip side is it does limit customer freedom.

    The Pre gives us a clear example. It is a completely legitimate assumption that when you buy a new phone you also want to act it as an MP3-player, avoiding the hassle of carrying two separate devices.
    OK, so all your music is DRM-free or can be made DRM-free. So you can arrange and sync it in a different program. Yes you can.
    But it will require additional time to get the organisation of your collection right again. And you may not be able anymore to sync separate devices (say an iPod and a Pre) to the same music collection. So it is a hassle to buy a non Apple-branded phone and you might call this undesired limitation of competition.

    Most social network companies have seen customer uprise around this very issue in some point of their existence. It might – just might – be the case that currently Palm has a better understanding of what the social network age is about than Apple.

  • Raymond

    @John E

    There are supported ways of syncing with iTunes for 3rd party applications using the library.xml and applescript/COM. There are many applications that do use it, including “Missing Sync for Palm Pre” which does sync the pre with iTunes using the supported way. What apple objects to is the way the pre falsely reports itself to be an iPod.

  • Major Macintosh

    Daniel
    Thanks great read, you always find a way to cut through all the misinformation out their.

  • SunnyGuy53

    There is a legal form of “squatter’s rights”, known as “adverse possession” —
    look it up. If your neighbor parks his car on your property, for a long enough
    period of time, without your doing anything about it; it becomes his property.
    It may be a period of 20 years with real property, but the concept does exist,
    and Apple is quite right to do something about it, right from the get-go.

    Sunny Guy

    If you let

  • SunnyGuy53

    Clarification: the part that you allow him to use eventually becomes his
    rightful property — not your whole lot. :-)

    Sunny Guy

  • tundraboy

    Couple of things:

    Surely Palm Pre advertising iTunes interoperability is a case of trading on Apple’s trademark without Apple’s consent and Apple can stop that with an injunction.

    iTunes, which I would describe as a device and content management platform, is the secret sauce in Apple’s recipe for digital entertainment success. Apple figured out that once a customer is already familiar with iTunes they aren’t going to bother running a second, concurrent platform. I think this first move advantage is really what killed all the competing MP3 players and is stunting the growth of iPhone competitors and furthermore, is obstructing Blackberry’s foray into the consumer market. And it is why Palm Pre so desperately wants to leap on iTunes coattails.

    Someday, like it or not, our lives will be run through iTunes. When mobile broadband becomes cheap enough and and pretty much everything you do via your wired ISP becomes economically feasible on a mobile ISP then the demand for mobile computing devices will explode and guess what, will those people already using iTunes want to bother with another platform? Will developers prioritize some other platform above iTunes?

  • John E

    ok. then Dan muddied things up by leading with “Today, Palm is attempting to do something similar by forcing iTunes to sync with its new phone.” in fact the issue instead and more precisely is that Palm is trying to use iTunes as the front end software for the Pre’s media synch functions (via its spoofing technique). Palm could rather provide its own front end software for synching (and someone else in fact has), linking in the background to the iTunes library database, just like many other third party media devices do, and that would be legit.

    so yeah of course Apple wants to stop other companies from ripping off iTunes to be the front end for the other companies’ media hardware. but that is not the same as locking down the iTunes library so no other device can use it and synch from it with its own software. the distinction is important, and the article didn’t make it.

    iTunes is the true “killer” media software platform. it actually does multiple functions so seamlessly the user never thinks twice about it all. it is, first, your very convenient media database organized with metadata. it is also a media streamer. it is your account manager, handling transactions and licensing. it is a massive media store. it is a media utility that can convert file formats, copy and burn physical media. it networks across a LAN to work on multiple computers. and last but not least, it is a very sophisticated device management utility – for iPod, iPhone, and AppleTV. all in one package. people always say it was the iPod that changed everything. but actually i would say it was really iTunes – without which the iPod could not have been what it was.

  • counterproductive

    @tundraboy
    “Someday, like it or not, our lives will be run through iTunes. When mobile broadband becomes cheap enough and and pretty much everything you do via your wired ISP becomes economically feasible on a mobile ISP then the demand for mobile computing devices will explode and guess what, will those people already using iTunes want to bother with another platform? Will developers prioritize some other platform above iTunes?”

    Couple of things:
    1)The demand is already exploding. People are looking for good devices with good operating systems and programs, that will ALSO have a good user experience and sync well with other forms of computing. Believe it or not (it’s sad but true): I never had a laptop, mobile phone or mp3 player before, and I just got a one of the latest 32GB iPod Touches in January this year. Nothing else moved me to get into mobile computing.

    Now all the talk is about dumb phones going extinct, smart phones not cutting it, and where are the other pocket computers like the iPhone and Touch.

    2) Why bother with less than the best? Everyone else’s distinguishing selling points are color, price, how fast the plastic does or doesn’t fall apart, etc. But it just isn’t fair that Apple hardware has a distinguishing selling point that it just works well with Apple’s own software and that it makes life fun, easy and convenient. What slimebags!

    3) You seem to be under the impression that iTunes will equal or replace the internet or www. I don’t see that happening. People got away from mediated internet experiences like AOL and other sub networks of the www. People want to see and experience what others are creating on the internet, whether or not it has any artistic merit or polish.

    I don’t see people’s “lives being run through iTunes”, but I can imagine people doing most of their online shopping through something like iTunes. Who wants to put up with time-wasting crappy interfaces when they need to purchase something. If iTunes takes over from Amazon and everything else, whose fault is that? Palm can’t be bothered to write their own interface to sell apps and music, and everyone else’s media stores are failing.

    It’s so unfair! Apple just has to let other hardware interface with it in just the same special ways that Apple’s own hardware can — even if it means dumbing down Apple’s hardware so that it doesn’t show everyone else up. I mean, yes there are ways that Apple hardware and Apple software can better interface together, because after all Apple made both — but it’s not fair to the competition. Somebody do something!

    4a) You are confusing the products sold on the iTunes “platform” as (you call it) with iTunes, which is a vehicle to make these products useful to you. If nobody else is making a vehicle to get me what I want or need and making it easy for me to find and use these products, then why would I want to use anything else?

    What I am looking for is apps for my iPod Touch. If I wanted Pre apps, I would expect to go somewhere else. As it happens, I don’t want and never will need Pre apps. If a Pre owner likes using iTunes to organize “his life”, and yet needs Pre apps (are there any, I wouldn’t know?), tough cookies. He can find them elsewhere. Really, what’s the problem here.

    4b) You are confusing the “iTunes Platform (as you call it) with the iPhone/iPod Touch mobile computing platform. The fact that iTunes may become ubiquitous, is not why developers are attracted to the iPhone. They hope that the iPhone itself will become ubiquitous. People who use iTunes to organize their media, but do not own an iPhone are not of interest to developers. The iPhone Platform has merit and is a great thing to develop for in its own right — the interface, APIs, single platform, easy to use product that people really rave about, etc, etc. The fact that iTunes exists is icing on the cake. It means these developers (people who develop real, useful products that people want) don’t have to worry about distribution, because their great products are presented in a media center that people likewise find useful and fun to use. Hmmm, maybe the company that came up with the mobile platform that is useful and fun to use, also put some thought into their media center that is also useful and fun to use. Oh, yeah, they’re connected. Same company, same values, same energy, same resourcefulness. What do you know?

    Everyone else only wants to paint half the picture (because they followed the MS picture of the world). Tough. You trust someone else to make half your product (software/hardware), you take your chances. MS “plays for sure” partners can tell you all about it. MS broke agreements, but doesn’t get any flack. Apple doesn’t want to (nor does it need to) enter the agreements in the first place, and still gets all the flack. C’est la vie.

  • enzos

    Dan, for your amusement; the misogynist myth of Pandora and her famous box. Ironically, a story that involves the Enlightener of Mankind getting a very nasty liver transplant…
    g. Prometheus at once went to Athene, with a plea for a backstairs admittance to Olympus, and this she granted. On his arrival, he lighted a torch at the fiery chariot of the Sun and presently broke from it a fragment of glowing charcoal, which he thrust into the pithy hollow of a giant fennel-stalk. Then, extinguishing his torch, he stole away undiscovered, and gave fire to mankind.
    h. Zeus swore revenge. He ordered Hephaestus to make a clay woman, and the four Winds to breathe life into her, and all the goddesses of Olympus to adorn her. This woman, Pandora, the most beautiful ever created, Zeus sent as a gift to Epimetheus, under Hermes’s escort. But Epimetheus, having been warned by his brother to accept no gift from Zeus, respectfully excused himself. Now even angrier than before, Zeus had Prometheus chained naked to a pillar in the Caucasian mountains, where a greedy vulture tore at his liver all day, year in, year out; and there was no end to the pain, because every night (during which Prometheus was exposed to cruel frost and cold) his liver grew whole again.
    i. But Zeus, loth to confess that he had been vindictive, excused his savagery by circulating a falsehood: Athene, he said, had invited Prometheus to Olympus for a secret love affair.
    j. Epimetheus, alarmed by his brother’s fate, hastened to marry Pandora, whom Zeus had made as foolish, mischievous, and idle as she was beautiful – the first of a long line of such women. Presently she opened a jar, which Prometheus had warned Epimetheus to keep closed, and in which he had been at pains to imprison all the Spites that might plague maniind: such as Old Age, Labour, Sickness, Insanity, Vice, and Passion. Out these flew in a cloud, stung Epimetheus and Pandora in every part of their bodies, and then attacked the race of mortals. Delusive Hope, however, whom Prometheus had also shut in the jar, discouraged them by her lies from a general suicide.
    -Hesiod, as abstracted by Robert Graves

  • ulicar

    It is great to read people who have no idea what they are talking about and still talk. It is as some “deadpan” comedy is going on. Great stuff!

    Let me enlighten you. The way iTunes talks to iPhone is called a protocol. It is legally allowed to reverse engineer the protocol. That is what Palm did. There is nothing in the world that Apple can do to them, expect, change the iPod and iTunes to use different protocol. Currently Pre is not pirate, or doing anything illegal, or whatever you call them. Ask Apple lawyers. They are doing what smart people can do. Use their brain.

    This is not unlicensed usage of iTunes. This is a usage of iTunes, the same way Firefox and IE are using Apache and/or IIS.

    [Not sure what your overall point is, but performing an iTunes sync using private APIs is not at all similar to a browser accessing a web server using documented protocols. The downside to using a private API is that the vendor’s changes will likely break compatibility, as Apple warned and as Palm is responding to with its ironic USB complaint. – Dan ]

    So, if Apple decides to change the protocol, more power to them, but please learn first about topic that you want to talk about.

  • ulicar

    Again, protocol is a protocol is a protocol. The same way Firefox is talking to IIS, Pre is talking to iTunes. They all do it using one or another protocol. The fact that iTunes-iPhone protocol is not public does not make any difference, because it is quite legal to reverse engineer a protocol that is not publicly documented.

    If Apple wants to block Pre, that is their decision, but accusing Pre of doing something illegal, immoral or whatever is plain wrong. They are doing nothing illegal, immoral or else. They are doing what programmers like to do. They are proving their knowledge against Apple and taunt Apple about it. In the meantime they make use of their device a bit easier for their customers.

    So, again, Apple has every right to change the protocol, encrypt calls, whatever… that is as far as I care their decision, but please do not write about something that is a bit over your head. You do not like Pre accessing iTunes, fine. Rant as much as you like, call them bastards, but do not disseminate complete nonsense “What Apple is trying to stop is the unlicensed use of iTunes by another company.”, because Palm is doing nothing like. Ask Apple lawyers. Your gullible readership (just check their comments, ROTFLMAO) can actually start thinking you are right.

    Disclaimer : I am a iMac owner, iPod and iPhone owner, software developer for Mac OS X and Windows, Master of Technology and I do know sh*t.

  • ulicar

    P.S.
    To make it perfectly clear why I used Firefox-IE-Apache-IIS example, most of modern browsers can impersonate the other, according to you, that would be “unlicensed use of website by another company”. What nonsense.

  • bartfat

    @ulicar

    Daniel actually never said that Apple said it was illegal for the Palm Pre to sync, he simply said that it was a hack and it could break because the protocols were undocumented and private to Apple.

  • ulicar

    @bartfat “What Apple is trying to stop is the unlicensed use of iTunes by another company.”

  • http://antiorario.it/ antiorario

    I know it’s completely off-point, but I find it very amusing that in the language of Romagna (a cultural region of Italy, for the uninformed), the word ‘pre’ (actually pronounced like the French ‘pré’) means ‘brick’.

  • saggybelly

    “if Apple allows Palm to leverage iTunes, Apple will not only assume informal responsibility for supporting the Pre, but will also have to extend that support to every other competitor, including Microsoft.”

    Excellent analysis.

    Except, of course, that it is anything but. If you install 3rd party software on your apple machine, is Apple going to support it or are they going to say, “go speak to the developer”?

    In broad brush strokes, Apple like to be in control. With a positive spin you might say this enables them to deliver a stable user experience because it vastly reduces the number of variables they have to allow for.It also happens to mean they tend to be voracious in shutting out competitors whenever they feel like it. Sure they have the right to do it but it doesn’t make it taste any better from where I’m sitting. If M$ did half the things Apple do these days, people would have the pitchforks out.

    [If Palm did anything wrong in terms of security or general bugs or whatever in the sync process with iTunes, users would experience that as a problem with iTunes. Think back to Palm’s terrible HotSync software and how troublesome it was to use with iSync. Most people would blame the “Mac” not “Palm’s software.” See also Adobe Flash.

    That is why Apple wants to be in control of its own stuff. Look at the wonderous success of platforms where there is no control: Linux on the PC, Android to a large extent, and even Windows, where Microsoft lets developers do nutty things and just tries to accommodate it all. Not a good strategy. Sounds good when expressed as a ideology though. – Dan ]