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Palm Strikes Back: iTunes Re-enabled on the Pre

Fri, 07/24/2009 - 6:25am
by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor

Jason_Pic130You had to see this coming: Palm, not content to let Apple have the last laugh, works around the iTunes Pre lock-out. We’d previously reported that version 8.2.1 of iTunes "disables devices falsely pretending to be iPods, including the Palm Pre." Palm described it as a "direct blow to their users, who will be deprived of a seamless synchronization experience." But Palm is launching a counterattack: Palm webOS 1.1 “re-enables Palm media sync.”

450px-Palm_PreJohn Traynor, Palm’s VP of Business Products, explains: “Palm webOS 1.1 re-enables Palm media sync. That’s right — you once again can have seamless access to your music, photos and videos from the current version of iTunes (8.2.1).” Palm had previously suggested three alternatives: download an older version of iTunes, sync music using the USB cable, or use a third-party music application. But clearly, Palm was buying time, and preparing its response. Their counter salvo is a strong one: users can download the latest iTunes worry-free.

I’ve been amused at this whole situation. My favorite bit was that neither company made any bones about their intentions. This was a declared war from the beginning. Unlike the Panasonic third-party battery lockout, where the company cynically expressed concern for customers’ safety, Palm and Apple declared their intent openly: to one-up their rival. And why wouldn’t Apple protect its own software? Apple is in the business of making money, and iTunes is arguably the iPod/iPhone’s greatest feature. Why should Apple allow a rival to outshine them with their own software? That doesn’t seem logical.

Some would say this is protectionist behavior on Apple’s part, but I see no reason to allow a rival to use your own tools against you. Palm currently has the upper hand, but something tells me Apple won’t give up that easily. Expect another software update from Apple or possibly even a court challenge. I’m eager to see what happens next. 

Do you agree? Disagree? Think I belong in the nut house? Leave a comment below or e-mail me directly.

Note: The preceding represents the view of the editor and not necessarily ECN.

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