back to article Apple ends Palm Pre's iTunes charade

Apple released an update to its iTunes music-management app on Wednesday that prevents Palm's Pre smartphone from appearing to be an iPod when connected to a Mac or PC. An Apple spokesman told The Reg that "iTunes 8.2.1 is a free software update that provides a number of important bug fixes. It also disables devices falsely …


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  1. lukewarmdog

    Digital Natives

    "unsophisticated users for whom connecting a USB drive is akin to rocket science."

    The idea of Digital Natives is not new so I'm unsure who these people are to whom you refer. They have no idea how to plug a device in yet they bought a Palm Pre? Surely not. There are plenty of Walkman phones on the back wall they'd be more likely to graviate to or if they were too complicated there's always a pretzel/hotdog/icecream vendor nearby to distract them.

  2. Mick F

    That's simple..

    ..don't update - even better, uninstall the bloated crap.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Thumbs down to palm on this one

    This was a bad move by palm. They've led everyone to believe you can synchronise your music through itunes (which love it or hate it, at least it works well enough to keep your music organised). Now that's going to break, and people will have to go back to managing everything manually (a nightmare if you've got a big collection) or look for something else.

    They should have agreed this with apple up front, or not done it at all, rather than "borrow" another companies software via the back door.

    On the plus side, perhaps palm will come out with their own music management app that competes with itunes like the pre does the iphone. That can only lead to goodness.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    It's MY ball and I'm going home!!!

    Puuhhllease!!! When will this childish bickering behavior stop !!!

    Corporates should really start to act like grown ups, then we can all benefit.

  5. Justin Thomas

    @Chris 19: Goodness . . .

    Do you remember Palm Desktop? I'd hardly call that "good".

    Completely agree with the overall sentiment though; this is a massive failure by Palm.

  6. Colin 21


    DoubleTwist anyone?

  7. Jonas Taylor


    It's disingenuous for Apple to claim that syncing is not supported for non-Apple devices when they're actually going out of their way to prevent it. It makes it sounds like it's just an unforeseen consequence of an update when it's actually a proactive policy.

    I'm not one for Palm piggy-backing on Apple's success but then iTunes should support 3rd party applications anyway. This is yet another move by Apple to further bolster their dominance over the phone and media sectors. I really wish Apple would grow up and learn to behave like a mature company instead of resorting to childish tactics like this.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @justin thomas

    I remember palm desktop. It wasn't that bad on windows, but I was glad to see the back of it on mac. But that's besides the point, the people running palm aren't the people who made palm desktop anymore, they're the people who made the iphone.

  9. nsld
    Paris Hilton

    If microsoft had done this....................

    There would be screams of market dominance and market fixing and good old anti trust.

    Apple are stupid, by restricting third party devices they will stop people buying from the itunes store unless they have an apple product to put the stuff on.

    It would be nice if the EU et al grew some balls and did to Apple what it has done to other companies that act in a similar way.

    Paris, she doesnt block access to third parties.

  10. Chris Miller

    EU to the rescue

    I'm sure the commissioners will soon be imposing record fines on Apple for abuse of their dominant position in the portable music player market. Oh wait, I forgot, Microsoft is evil and run by soul-sucking demons, while Apple is all pink and fluffy loveliness.

    As you were, people.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    do you actually, in any way, know how the world works? saying nothing about palm and them making themselves look like a bunch of bedroom hackers, apple have a duty to their stockholders to protect their market share, and this isn't on the extreme end of that, this is protecting their own platforms and products from third parties' piggybacking. they should have sued palm, and may still go down that route.

  12. Jonathan 6


    "... and there are other third-party applications we can consider."

    Which is what the fuckwits should have done in the first place instead of using a stupid hack!

  13. Ben Mathews


    It's crap. Use Media Monkey which can sync to any USB device...

    Ironic the hard line apply had on hacking their devices considering Steve Job's days making 'blue box' phreaking tools...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good riddance, iTunes is horrible

    It seems designed to lock you in to AAC and QuickTime formats, is ridiculously complicated in terms of its music database structure, and full of shit that I don't need but which it insists I do need. I'd like to get rid of it completely and use something else with my 2nd gen Nano. Is there anything which will take a simple directory structure of mp3 files and let me add those to my iPod without all that wanking around you have to do in iTunes booking them into your library? I've tried Floola but it wasn't that good (this was many months ago mind you).

  15. Bleeter


    Funny how Jobs started out as an illegal phone phreaker...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Where is the EU and US?

    Come on, drag them backwards by the roll-neck jumper through the same legal processes that have hammered MS & Co in the past.

    And that's not a dig at the EU or US Supreme Court for what they did to MS (it's all very well deserved, and then some), it's a genuine call for them to take anti-competitive practices just as seriously when they're done by ciltish makers of plastic bits & bobs as well as the evil empire etc...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    You'd have to force me to use that memory leaking bloat-ware. Pre owners should thank Apple for forcing them to get educated and look elsewhere!

  18. Jeremy Chappell

    Err, are Palm stupid?

    Hands up anyone who didn't see this coming? Didn't think so. So why didn't Palm? If Palm wanted to sync the Pre with music software they should have built one - not try and piggyback off Apple's iTunes.

    Blaming Apple is damn stupid, it was obvious that Apple would take a dim view of what the Pre does, and stop it. Say what you like, Apple created iTunes as part of an end-to-end music solution. The idea is to get people to buy iPods and iPhones, yes they want to make money.

    Palm wanted a "free ride". For the record, I don't have an iPhone, and the Pre looks damn interesting (even without iTunes sync) so this isn't some personal bias. Apple's move was entirely predictable, and Palm have let their customers down by claiming the Pre could sync with iTunes.

  19. Adrian Esdaile

    Where's the outrage?

    sorry, I forgot the rules:

    If Apple does it, it's COOL.

    If Microsoft does it, it's EVIL, the END OF THE WORLD, a CONSPIRACY and a CRIME.

    Swut the frooting turlingdromes.

  20. Jack Evans

    @Chris 68

    Try Rockbox

  21. J 3

    Falsely pretending?

    Isn't that either redundant or a double negative? Pretending is passing as someone you aren't, so falsely pretending... surely means you are the real thing, and not pretending at all.

    Anyway, yeah, if this was MS people would be screaming bloody murder -- which some are, mind. And as a Linux fanboy I'm not one to defend MS, to begin with. But what if they changed MS Office to only work with, say, files digitally signed to prove that they were created with MS Office? Or they made IE work only on websites hosted by an MS server? What Apple is doing is not very different, I think. You'd think they are not making any money from the iTunes store and only making money from hardware sales, since they don't want any other hardware to use their software.

    Anyway, I'm using gtkPod to sync my MP3s to my old iPod, so life is good.

  22. Adam Williamson 1
    Thumb Down

    @Jonas Taylor

    "I'm not one for Palm piggy-backing on Apple's success"

    See, that's the thing. It isn't. As other commenters after you pointed out, the problem is that Apple is abusing an effective monopoly here, in exactly the same way it has loudly (and correctly) decried Microsoft for doing in the past.

    iTunes has become the dominant desktop music player - certainly the dominant app for transferring-music-from-PC-to-portable-player - not because it's inherently really good at either of those functions, but because its use is heavily encouraged by the iPod, which is the dominant music player. And Apple - as this story clearly demonstrates - actively works to make it as difficult as possible for anyone else to interoperate with iTunes. That's not at all different from Microsoft actively working to make it as difficult as possible for others to interoperate with Windows.

    If you look at very iTunes-like applications in a less distorted context, every one of them works as hard as possible to work with as _many_ types of player as possible. Look at the Linux audio players - Rhythmbox, Banshee, AmaroK et al. They all try as hard as they can to work with iPods, Zunes, Sony players, and every yum-cha no-name mass transfer player that comes out of China. Yet Apple, keep to keep its little exclusive ecosystem safe as long as it can, pushes in exactly the opposite direction, working hard to bar compatibility with any non-Apple player. That just ain't cricket. Palm isn't doing this to take advantage of Apple's success, only to try and circumvent Apple's little monopoly play.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Alienated Palm Users? Lost revenue? Not so much...

    Really? But you do know that iTunes is not the money maker, right? It's the iPod/iPhone. So why would Apple care if some measly Palm users are not buying stuff on iTunes?

    If you got a Pre, get your OWN software. But I guess Palm didn't have money left over to develop the software as well to go with the hardware. Never mind, let's just piggyback on Apple, they won't dare turn the back on us... oh yeah?

  24. Stephen Bungay

    So Palm was not pretending?

    "It also disables devices falsely pretending to be iPods, including the Palm Pre."

    Falsely pretending?


    Pretend: to appear falsely, as to deceive; feign:

    So to "falsely pretend" would mean that they are not pretending at all! The Apple spokesman really needs to upgrade his communication skills.

  25. Jimbo 7


    PRE should offer next to iTunes also Windows Meda Player, WinAmp and SongBird plugins from Day1. If they would Apple would be too scared to shut this down

  26. k d

    unsophisticated users

    "unsophisticated users for whom connecting a USB drive is akin to rocket science."

    You're kidding aren't you? How is drag and drop from USB harder than trying to work out how the hell to synch an iPod from iTunes without having it wipe over you iPod playlist?

  27. Dana W
    Jobs Halo

    @ Anonamous Coward

    Itunes works great. On a Mac.

    Memory leaks are WINDOW'S fault, not iTunes.

    I I used to blame iTunes too, before i found out its problems were not iTunes, but Windows.

  28. Robert E A Harvey
    Paris Hilton

    Disapointed in Palm

    and not only for the carrier-specific tying of the Pre.

    If they wanted to sell an iTunes compatible they should have negotiated with Apple from an early stage & paid a sensible licence fee for each one connected. That would probably have been a dollar or so.

    Apple would have gained some iTunes customers, some cudos, and an insight into the pre to aid their own product differentiation.

    Palm acting like a freeloader was juvenille and bound to end in tears.

    Paris, 'cos she understands marketing herself.

  29. Dave 142


    Seeing as the pre isn't even available in Europe I don't see why the EU should do anything.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Good riddance iTunes is horrible

    Chris 68 wrote: "It seems designed to lock you in to AAC and QuickTime formats, is ridiculously complicated in terms of its music database structure"

    What have you been smoking? iirc, the default format for extracting files from a CD is MP3.

    The music database structure (on your HD) is as follows:


    Can't get much simpler than that now, can it?

  31. Fab De Marco

    @Dana W Errr... No It is iTunes

    Apple made a Windows Compatible version of iTunes and as such it is expected to perform well on it. If it memory leaks then it is the Software at fault, not the OS.

    Or did apple make it unstable on purpose to fool the uneducated into believeing macs are better.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    @Dana W

    Quote - "Memory leaks are WINDOW'S fault, not iTunes."

    How do you work that one out? If it was Windows fault, every program that runs on Windows would be faulty which just isn't true. It just means Apple are better at writing code for Mac's than they are Windows, your comment is ill informed to say the least.

  33. jeffrey 1


    Why should apple have to let palm or anyone else be able to use iTunes with their devices? And by the same token, why should microsoft not be allowed to package IE with their OS? I don't see a problem with either, if consumers want to use something different the will.

  34. Paul Hates Handles

    @Dana W

    You can't compare iTunes on a Windows and MAC as if they're the same program running on different systems. If there's a memory leak it isn't just the OS' fault - there's shitty coding to blame too.

    Otherwise every single other app would be ballsed, too - surely?

    Apple don't write very good PC apps. Shock horror :D (Or they make them shitty so people feel envious of Macs...)

    @ k d - Unsophisticated users will just assume syncing erasing everything is How It Should Be and they'll just have to wait 14 hours while it Sorts It's Shit Out.

  35. Rosco

    Read the iTunes library

    A while ago I had a little look into iTunes because I love it for organising my music but didn't want an iPod. It seems that the library is indexed in an XML file that also contains the playlists. It didn't seem like it would be very difficult to write an external application that would read that file and sync any playlists to device of your choosing. Palm should do that.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could it be that...

    Could it be that Palm, suitably narked by Apple for not supporting none Apple media players, intended to use a different 3rd party app all along but wanted to highlight Apples tactics when it comes to supporting non-Apple products? Even when utilising their own software/store? While this may backfire on Palm (I for one wouldn't be bothered not being an iTunes user, however being tied to O2 does bother me), one day it might also come back to haunt Apple to...

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Anonamous Coward?

    Now *there's* a Mac user who could benefit from copy and paste

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't play well with others

    Both Apple and MS would have that one on their report cards. Deliberately breaking compatibility with other products is a great way to piss off your customers, but if it hurts your competitor more than it hurts you then it's a business win of sorts. They've both done it, it is anticompetitive. So what's the difference? Monopoly. Being an anticompetitive control freak isn't illegal until you have one. MS clearly do, but Apple don't yet. They may want to, and are the biggest player, but they aren't there yet.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    This shameless apple suckery

    Makes me glad I sold my iphone.

    There must be some sort of inverse law that states as soon as a corporation develops a "community" they become herd like, defensive and arrogant.

    See xbox 360, blu-ray, google ... all good products (like the iphone) whose nutty followers scare me a little.

    Suggesting that memory leaks are the fault of the OS is plain strange. Windows can be blamed for a lot of bad things ... but not for itunes being a bit rubbish. (saying it works on macs therefore it's the OS is plain weird)

  40. Anonymous Coward


    Gotta love the folk saying iTunes is horrible but then asking what else to use.

    I must have tried a dozen other apps which all have their issues so I settled on using iTunes but then I use an iMac now and it works pretty much perfectly on that.

    Surely if Palm think they can produce a better phone than Apple they should have the courage to write their own software to support it?

    We want to compete with Apple but we conceed we can't write software better than they can. What kind of a message does that send out?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    @Dana W, memory leaks?

    As much as I am sure most people on this site like to berate windows (we do have to work with it on a daily basis after all... Unless you're a happy BOFH running around on your modded segway inside a giant linux server farm, wearing your active nightvision goggles rather than turning on the lights, just because you can), memory leaks are usually the fault of the application itself, not the underlying operating system.

    Sure, the OS should do proper memory management, but saying that the app is not to blame for memory leaks is kind of like accusing a houseowner (the OS) for having a dirty house because they invited in a hobo who suddenly started flinging faeces at the walls (and they weren't able to kick them out before their IKEA beige walls had turned a darker shade of brown.

    For all their solid, excelent code under OSX I have found any Cupertino code running on Win32 to be very much like the previously mentioned hobo... you only invite him into your house because someone had put a fancy suit on him, and he didn't commence poo flinging, or demanding all your processor and available memory 'just because' until you had gone to the kitchen to make tea.

    Ah, gotta love those insane similies :)

    Yay apple!

  42. Rob Crawford


    Media Monkey or DoubleTwist

    I like media monkey a lot even if the interface is a bit 1990's it works well and syncs with almost anything.

    DoubleTwist is OK but is a few months away from being a pleasurable experience (as opposed iTunes being several years away (with the windows version being a decade or so))

  43. Rob Crawford

    Oh Yeah

    Apple are complete wankers for deliberately breaking the connectivity, same as they are complete tosspots for constantly changing the database format (& encryption) for uploading music to iPods.

    Surely I should be the person deciding which app I want to use on my machine, rather than being forced to use the pox ridden iToons

  44. bex

    itunes bad

    Itunes has the most clumsy UI in the world never mind bloatware its bolf on functions with no rime or reason ware.

    As for the mactard above above blaiming windows for a piece of badly written software causing memory leaks he is just wrong.

    I use a macbook and after it has been on a day or so the memory use goes up yo 2GB and regardless of what is running I can't get it back ths sounds like a memory leak to me

    Itunes on windows is so bad quite a lot of the time breaks on the install, maybe its time Apple started from scratch internalised the playing software and not depend on quicktime being installed which is easily broken

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dana W

    er no.

  46. MarkOne

    Antitrust lawsuit anyone.

    No better than dirty Microsoft on this one..

  47. Adam T

    Pot Calling Kettle Black

    iTunes is a vehicle for selling Apple hardware (iPods & iPhone).

    The absence of a Palm equivalent only proves that Palm don't understand what makes the iPhone a success. It's not the compass, or the touch screen, or pinch-to-zoom. It's content availability and management; music, pictures, videos, applications, podcast...the lot.

    By connecting to iTunes in the first place, at best they were competing with iPods. What does that say about the value of owning a Pre? Not much, if you ask me.

    And saying "If Apple chooses to disable media sync in iTunes, it will be a direct blow to their users who will be deprived of a seamless synchronization experience" is an insult to their customers, who deserve a solution from the people they gave their money to, not from the people they're trying to compete with.

    Pot calling kettle black.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    @ Dana W


    Memory leaks are WINDOW'S fault, not iTunes.


    Nothing to do with Apple's shitty coding of the Windows iTunes application then?

  49. Big Bear

    @Dana W

    Errr... so Windows developers coded iTunes for the Windows platform? Somehow I doubt it...

    Palm should've seen this coming and were a bit f**king stupid for getting the Pre to pretend to be an iPod. They're a big company, not a basement hack shop and really should have either licensed it or just developed their own/partnered with someone else.

    However, the big question is why do people use iTunes? My music sits in folders according to artist and then album; the track info is all stored as metadata; and when I want to "sync" it up, I drag'n'drop via bluetooth, USB, wireless, or whatever. What advantage does iTunes have?

  50. John Taylor 1


    ...that's another reason for me not to use Apple products...

    I don't have a Palm Pre (have one of there old Tungsten's though) but I can safely say that iTunes would not be the main reason for me buying one if I did.

    Palm were naive to think that Apple (given plenty examples in the past) would ever consider cooperating with them.

    Apple have given me yet another reason not to develop, use or recommend there products or services..

    In summary:

    Apple = Fail, Palm = Fail.

  51. EvilGav 1

    @ Dana W

    Really ? An application having memory leaks isn't at fault, it's the underlying system thats the problem ?

    But surely that would mean that every single application running on Windows would have a memory leak, since it's the OS that's at fault and not the application.

    Or could it be that Apple wrote iTunes for Windows because it's the dominant OS and writing a Mac OS only version wouldn't make them anywhere near as much money, however the programmers failed to write the application in a robust manner/failed to code check properly/cant be arsed fixing known problems etc etc.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why all the hate for iTunes?

    I never understand all this iTunes bashing. I'll admit I've not tried every app out there but I've used a few over the years on both Windows and Mac. I've had various phones and non-apple MP3 players and without exception the experience was awful.

    The iTunes/iPod sync experience however has never been a problem. If the player is smaller than the music collection just set to sync to a manually created, carefully selected, or 'smart' playlist (eg new music) and away you go. It does a really good job with metadata and ripping - i use mp3 at 225VBR highest, safe rip, (i had endless trouble when i ripped my collection with EAC/LAME/freeDB both in terms of bad rips and crappy metadata). It creates a logical directory structure and decent filenames. The search is instant and no one seems to have any trouble using it (we have a 'public' computer that visitors have access to).

    There are a few annoyances - my only real annoyance are the lack of the concept of a 'current playlist'

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    RE: Doesn't play well with others

    "Both Apple and MS would have that one on their report cards. Deliberately breaking compatibility with other products is a great way to piss off your customers, but if it hurts your competitor more than it hurts you then it's a business win of sorts. They've both done it, it is anticompetitive. So what's the difference? Monopoly. Being an anticompetitive control freak isn't illegal until you have one. MS clearly do, but Apple don't yet. They may want to, and are the biggest player, but they aren't there yet."

    The market share of the iTunes Store is big enough to consider it an effective monopoly in the area of digital music. Microsoft doesn't have a real monopoly with Windows (there are plenty of other OSes to choose from) but it has an effective monopoly because of the popularity of Windows.

    In any case, I hope that the authorities do something about this. Apple should be forced to run iTunes in the same way that Microsoft ran PlaysForSure (ie allow 3rd parties to sync with iTunes and license the FairPlay, to both device manufacturers and other stores).

  54. censored

    @AdamT Errrr....? What....?

    "Palm don't understand what makes the iPhone a success. It's not the compass, or the touch screen, or pinch-to-zoom. It's content availability and management"

    So people buy iPhones coz of iTunes, do they? When it came out, there were cries of "Finally! A phone that syncs to iTunes!" ???

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Third party iTunes synching...

    For all the Apple bashers above:

    1. The iTunes directory structure and database is completely open and absolutely anyone can write software to access it and synch content to and from it. You never have to use iTunes for this.

    2. Software to do this ALREADY EXISTS.

    3. Palm could (SHOULD) have written THEIR OWN.

    Instead they got really fucking lazy, used a sloppy hack (and one that is also against the USB spec, ffs) that was bound to be blocked by Apple and have now made the people (Pré owners) they deceived with a bullet point marketing stunt suffer for it as a result. Palm are a shameful bunch of tossers for doing this.

    Apple are too for retailiating in a childish manner, but where is the shock in that? It was 100% going to happen.

  56. Bad Beaver

    @ lukewarmdog

    They are what we call "advanced digital natives", digital bronze agers so to say. They had too much commercial TV in their childhood, so they tend to impulse-buy whatever they can lay their hands on, as they have a strong feeling of "needing" it. They will then proceed to never use more than 5% of a device's functions or declare that it "doesn't work", break it and then proceed to sue the maker. They are called "advanced" for their purchasing behaviour, but really they are an evolutionary blind gut.

    There is also the rare cases of digital autism, often finding refuge on tech boards, often befalling silverbacks who for all their life have sorted nuts, bolts and screws into neat little drawers and now cannot for their bare life understand why and how someone could have enough music to actually use a proper database like iTunes for. They are old and therefore tend to be very dogmatic and verbal.

    On Palm: Yeah, whatever. You tried to snatch a most welcome feature that happens to define your contender's product experience, you lost, bad thing. If you actually sold the Pre instead of whoring around with providers, I would maybe find time to pity you.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    @ Dana W(indows hater)

    Quote: "...I used to blame iTunes too, before i found out its problems were not iTunes, but Windows."

    Let me guess, you had this revelation very shortly after the first swig of the 'Kool Aid'. Am I right?

  58. David Richardson
    Jobs Horns

    @Adam T

    iTunes is not just Apples iPhone syncing software it is the gateway to the largest legal digital media distribution network in the world. Why would Apple want to restrict the number of people using that store? The only reason is to remove competition from other media players / phone retailers. Don't forget this won't just affect the pre, it's just that that's the one that's grabbing the headlines.

    If MS tried this stunt with the Zune and WMP they'd be slapped with a fine before the code was finished. Apple do have a monopoly in media players and online media retail and their anti competetive practices are far more obvious than MS ever were. The sooner everone stops buying this bollocks about improving the customers experience and drags them into court the better.

  59. Adam T

    @John Taylor 1

    Palm were STUPID for thinking Apple would do anything other than disable Pre compatability with iTunes.

    And they're stupid for not having taken the time to create their own solution. Or maybe they just don't know how. Didn't someone mention that Palm's previous attempt at desktop software was a joke?

    There was NO good sense in declaring "iTunes Compatible" in the first place. I mean really, what does it sound like other than treating customers like idiots... they knew full well what Apple's response would be.

  60. Jerome 0

    @ Stephen Bungay

    "The Apple spokesman really needs to upgrade his communication skills."

    He would, but the latest version is incompatible with his smug satisfaction module.

  61. Bilgepipe


    If you're losing 2G of RAM a day then you have faulty software installed. Everyone else's MacBooks are fine.

    Did you investigate as thoroughly as you complain?

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DIY synch-app

    Palm should have been writing an iTunes-replacement synch app. (Without the majorly b*llshit iTunes bells and whistles.)

    So when Pre users have been synching to iTunes for a while, and Apple now bring out a new iTunes that breaks that, Palm could just say 'here, use this software instead. Sure, still run iTunes if you want to buy new stuff from the iStore. But use our new app to keep it all synched to your Pre."

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely this is an abuse of a monopoly

    iTunes and the iPod and iPhone are separate business markets. One for their online store and one for hardware. With 70-80% of the market for the store, using this to stamp out competition in another market, the devices is an obvious abuse.

    Apple may be taking a very risky course of action here, they might get forced to open iTunes up to All over devices.

  64. Mathew White

    Fail palm, fail.

    Palm's biggest mistake here was the über fail of not realizing that iTunes supports plugins for hardware devices, 'iTunes Device SDK' as its called. Its the same SDK that was used to make the P2P sharing inside itunes that caused a but if a guffaw a few years ago.

    Unless apple has cut support for the SDK (which had to be privately requested in the first place), the only reason why palm would choose the silliness of making the pre pretend its an iPod would be to try and circumvent apple's DRM.

  65. Reg Varney

    re: "Why all the hate for iTunes"

    Because it's a godawful piece of software, with a terrible UI?

    To give it its due, its linking with the iTunes shop is, as you would expect, excellent. However, as I have no desire to pay more for a digital download than I can buy a CD for in Tesco, that is of no interest to me.

    It's also pretty good at managing podcasts.

    For everything else, MediaMonket is infinitely better, in just about every respect.

  66. Michael Brown

    @Adam Williamson 1

    "That's not at all different from Microsoft actively working to make it as difficult as possible for others to interoperate with Windows."

    Regarding the above and all others claiming something similar, stop. It's not remotely similar. iTunes exists first and foremost in order to support Apple's iPods and iPhones, and to allow people who have an iDevice to buy music, movies and apps for them from the iTunes store. If people want to use it on it's own without an Apple device then they are welcome to but that's not what it's main purpose is. Apple have no obligation whatsoever to make iTunes work with any other device, just as Canon have no obligation to make the image management software that comes with their cameras work with Nikon or any other cameras.

    Microsoft OTOH tried to make it difficult for Netscape (and many others) to interoperate with Windows. The Apple equivalent would be to try to hobble, say WinAmp, on machines where iTunes was installed.

  67. Michael C

    @Fab de Marco

    When Microsoft removes all their own memory leak issues from their own software running on their own OS then I'll support your position on ensuring Apple's software runs without such on Windows as well. Until then, it;s just another thing about windows we're forced to deal with since it can't clean up it's own leaks (or simply prevent them) as other more grown up OS's do.

  68. jammach
    Thumb Down

    load of horse pooh

    "It seems designed to lock you in to AAC and QuickTime formats"

    You mean that AAC format that's open source and freely usable, or that quicktime format that's just a file wrapper that was also used as the basis for the MP4 standard with the consent and permission of Apple..?

    Wow, you are seriously misinformed.

    If Palm could be bothered to write their own sync application, they could easily hook into the library XML file that's freely available on every machine that has iTunes, that acts as the catelogue and library database of your music. They chose not too. They chose to try and leverage the ease of use of iTunes and try and imply this was with the approval and compliance of Apple. Fail.

  69. Richard 102

    A point not mentioned

    The Pre was posing as an iPod. Okay, that's clever enough, but suppose someone wrote a virus that attached to a drive, which posed as an iPod, and pulled over contact and calendar information, ...

    A bit far-fetched, perhaps, but surely there is a potential security issue here.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    iTunes alternatives

    I wouldn't let iTunes near my PC under any circumstances. MediaMonkey works beautifully, and the free version has pretty much all the functionality an average user would ever need. But Apple + Windows seldom works out well.

  71. Big Bear

    @Michael Brown

    Sorry, but that argument also holds no water – iTunes has become a de facto monopoly within the music and media management world, such that artists release their music to iTunes only in some cases. In this case, as the monopolists, Apple should be asked to allow better integration of their iTunes store and hence software to other operating systems, as well as open it up to other players. Essentially, it is the media player equivalent of MS Windows in the desktop world… one that when installed, overwrites default player settings, much like you describe in your last sentence. Both are as bad as each other, in their respective monopoly arenas – it doesn’t matter what the aim of the product is: when it becomes a monopoly it starts getting treated differently!

    Now the big question: how come iPods are allowed to come bundled with iTunes? ;-)

  72. Adam T

    @Big Bear 13:13 GMT

    I'm not too sure your argument holds much water either.

    Exclusives are part and parcel of running a marketing driven business.

    Because the Daily Mail puts Carry On Camping on the front of it's newspaper, does that mean it's a threat to The Independent? Of course not.

    When famous, influential people and then the world+dog start referring to a brand or product to describe a category, i.e. iPod instead of mp3 player, would you propose that all mp3 player manufacturers be allowed to call their products iPods? No, of course not.

    It's a free market. It's just not a free store. You can't set up a t-shirt stand in a department store and expect not to be escorted out by security. Maybe not a great analogy, but it's close enough to make the point.

  73. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    If Palm's developers had bothered...

    ... to get off their arses and *think* for a few moments, they'd have realised the best solution would have been to build their own iTunes-like app, with links directly to *Amazon's* websites. Perhaps adding links to Spotify so their customers could hear a song all the way through, instead of getting just a random 30-second 'bite' of it.

    (Windows Media Player even had a 'plug-in' approach to digital download stores, accessible from within its UI. I think it's still there, though I can't confirm this without rebooting my machine.)

    But no. Instead, Palm decided to drop the ball and assume that their design duties began and ended with the Pre itself. Which is why both they—and it—will fail. Design begins with the user and ends in the deepest innards of the device. If that device needs to communicate through *another* device at any point, that process *also* needs to be fully and correctly designed.

    Apple gets this. That's *why* they only support their *own* kit, running their *own* software, with only a few exceptions. (Their Windows apps exist at least in part to ensure a consistent user experience for those who have to use Windows in Boot Camp or on a VM.)

    Microsoft also gets this, though they've been hamstrung by their legacy of being primarily a software tools company. Their XBox consoles are an example of how this approach to design can be made to work successfully. The XBox360 has trounced Sony's PS3 on all fronts by getting *all* its design spot on.

    (Incidentally, MS are a development tools company, not an OS company. Windows is mainly just a convenient bundle of technologies and APIs for their massive community of developers to target. Visual Studio is Microsoft's flagship product, not Windows, whatever their marketing people may imply.)

    Oh, and those of you bandying around words like "Monopoly" and "Restrictive practices", please stop. Just... stop. You're wrong. On oh, so many levels. The iTunes store has plenty of rivals now. That those rivals suck at design is hardly Apple's fault.

  74. Adam T

    @Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Well put.

    At the end of the day it doesn't matter if you like iTunes, or Apple policies.

    The fact of the matter is that Palm played a cheap marketing trick by trying to sell on the back of a competitor's successful software, a practically ubiquitous brand.

    They did wrong; they deliberately and knowingly misled customers. Respect -1.

  75. Adam T

    @Big Bear

    "How the big question: how come iPods are allowed to come bundled with iTunes? ;-)"

    Isn't that like asking, how come PCs are allowed to come bundled with Windows?

    Or, if you want a free software flavour, how are PCs allowed to come bundled with Linux?

    I think, because it's more useful to have it than not. You're not forced to use it, or even install it.

  76. DrXym Silver badge


    I am so sick of the bloated slug otherwise known as iTunes that I've uninstalled it. If you want to see how bloated and slow it was, just install Songbird. Songbird copies the iTunes interface but is an order of magnitude more responsive. It also doesn't install little annoyances like background and startup processes which sap boot times and memory.

    Maybe Palm should throw some money at Songbird for proper integration with the device.

  77. Rob Crawford

    Oh really

    If Apple would allow me to sync MY content with MY device with the app of MY choice instead of deliberately breaking things with each firmware upgrade. I may have some sympathy for them in the Palm situation. But it's control freakery

    Palm where stupid though, but hopefully Apple will miss out on large numbers of downloads.

    Everytime iTunes upgrades it pisses all over my machine and insists on forcing Quicktime as my media player in the least obvious places despite what I tell it in the installer & the Program Access & Defaults settings?

    No sane person willingly uses iTunes, and why can they not allow syncing via WiFi?


    It's not the aac format but the DRM that people where having foisted upon them.

    @Michael C

    Just because there memory leaks in an OS (they all have them) doesn't mean that developers can leak all over the place as well. I was always taught to clean up after myself when coding (and real life). Every windows dev has to cope with the same issues. Seemingly the iTunes developers are exempt from such mortal things (as I remember a 3rd party developed the MS version of iTunes)

  78. TeeCee Gold badge
    Jobs Horns

    Bound to happen.

    Apple's reputation for "just working" is built on maintaining a vice like grip on the hardware and environment they permit their users to use. The last thing they want is a load of Pre owners bleating for support when something f***s up in version x.y.z. Better from their perspective to officially close the door now.

    However, as other commentors have pointed out, iTunes is a virtual monopoly (success has its price) and this action does have the stench of monopolistic practice about it, regardless of the motivation.

    Let's face it. It's not like anyone else has ever produced an "unofficial" interface to a large computer company's software, had this door slammed shut on them and then seen said large computer company nailed to the regulatory cross for their trouble now, is it?

  79. B 9

    iTunes DOES work with other players just fine

    For those of you living in fantasy land and who think that Apple is protecting a monopoly with this move then I have a few realities to share.

    1. iTunes does support many other media players. The list found using a simple Google search (it's like magic!) can be found at Thus ending the protectionist falsehoods that abound in these comments.

    2. This update does have a very practical side. iTunes is used to update firmware on the iPod. If it sees a device that identifies itself as an iPod it may attempt to install a firmware update. A device that FALSELY identifies itself as an iPod runs the risk of being damaged if iTunes attempts to run a firmware update and the user (one of the ignorant masses who bought a Pre) grants permission. In this case the Pre (or other device) could be damaged and people would blame Apple (incorrectly) when they should instead blame Palm. This iTunes update is definitely covering Apple's rear end from a legal and PR standpoint.

    In short Palm could have worked for true interopibility but they instead chose the hacker route. They set themselves up for this in the poorly thought out business approach. And the comparisons to MS on this board are ridiculous. Apple allows many media players to connect to iTunes, but they have to do it correctly and not falsely pretend to be iPods.

  80. Big Bear

    @Adam T

    The iPod bundling comment was a joke – which in retrospect is a bit of a topical comment...

    In answer to your first post, though I accept your arguments about the market driven business and exclusivity, this is part of what I mean when saying that iTunes in conjunction with the iPod, which it is undeniably linked to as per your own argument, forms the de facto monopoly! What you say about the free DVD is irrelevant as neither the Daily Mail nor The Independent have that 70% market share that iTunes has. In terms of a free market, all is well until you have a commanding position, then the authorities come in and stamp on you for your success, with anti-competition laws and that kind of stuff, which behaviour like this from Apple will only accelerate – I think maybe they should have quietly asked Palm to cease and desist, and offered them a slice of the action for a price, rather than arbitrarily cutting off the access.

    And no, I do not think Palm are in the right here, far from it, but I do think Apple’s actions could have been better managed to portray less of the bullying monopolist using dominant market share and position to force rivals out. That’s the kind of behaviour that got MS in all kinds of poo…

  81. John Taylor 1

    @Adam T

    Believe me I'm not defending Palm's stupidity for relying on Apple continuing to provide a service for there phone. It was insane for Palm to advertise iTunes compatibility for the Palm Pre when they knew that Apple is actively hostile to any activities taking place in its playpen (they should have relied on another service which was more open).

    That being said.

    There was no technical reason for Apple doing what they did, it was simply at its most basic, spite.

    As a budding third party developer, while I like some of Apples products I would not commit a development budget to developing for them due to general attitudes such as this. This incident is yet further justification for that stance.

  82. Rob Crawford



    Having lived through years of supporting Apple Mac users, Apple products just working is only partially true. When a Mac stops working it stops working bit time.

    They will still have to answer the my Palm dosn't work questions(and be held to blame too)


    Point 2, thats just silly would Palm will allow their device to be flashed via iTunes I don't think so

  83. Bad Beaver


    The raging spews of folks using iTunes on Windows.

    It works all fine on OS X, btw..

  84. Anonymous Coward

    What a Monopoly is (Clue; iTunes isn't one)

    'The market share of the iTunes Store is big enough to consider it an effective monopoly in the area of digital music. Microsoft doesn't have a real monopoly with Windows (there are plenty of other OSes to choose from) but it has an effective monopoly because of the popularity of Windows.'

    Shall I explain what's wrong with that? OK. Your logic is flawed to say the least. iTunes has an impressive market share - but monopoly? The iTunes Store share is approx. 70% globally. This does not constitute a monopoly and nor is it an 'effective' monopoly (this is what financial and legal people call anti-trust), Microsoft's OS share is approx. 90% which on several occasions (US v. Microsoft 1998, EU v. Microsoft 2004 and others) judgements have been made that Microsoft did abuse its position and punitive action was taken against this anti-trust. For a monopoly to be considered, there must be no practical alternatives for the product and no real threat of a competitor into the market. This enables the seller to control the price. So, why isn't the iTunes an 'effective' monopoly? There are other options available and competitors can, and do, compete. In its first year trading, Amazon MP3 took 8% of the market from its competitors, including iTunes. Even if you are on a Mac, and you own an iPod, Apple do not force anyone to use the product save for updating and product activation, which they are at liberty to do - just as Microsoft are at liberty to include Intranet Explorer (the spelling *is* deliberate) with their OS, but make it completely removable/replaceable..

    I figure what you wanted to say was 'I don't like Apple. I do like Microsoft. I'll make it look as if I know what I'm talking about to disguise this.' As Lincoln, or was it Twain, said; 'It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.'

  85. B 9

    Yes really

    @Rob Crawford

    "f Apple would allow me to sync MY content with MY device with the app of MY choice "

    -Well then you should be happy because they DO allow that. There are many media players that synch with iTunes besides the iPod, so you have choice there. You can take any other media player and find another compatible piece of software and synch it, so you have choice there. I believe there are even ways to synch an iPod with 3rd party software, so you have choice there. I think the thing you really want is to be able to take any device, any music (DRM encumbered) and any music software and put them together. That does not happen with ANY vendor and it unlikely to ever happen.

    "It's not the aac format but the DRM that people where having foisted upon them."

    - The iTunes store is DRM free now. You can upgrade any old DRM tracks to DRM free versions. Problem solved. And just for the record it was the record labels that mandated the DRM, not Apple. Put the blame where it really lies.

    "Everytime iTunes upgrades it pisses all over my machine and insists on forcing Quicktime as my media player"

    - I would say your experience is the exception and not the rule. I know of no other friends who have that issue. I'm sure some people might experience it, but how do you know it's not your computer config and not iTunes? If iTunes was at fault I would assume everyone, or at least a vast majority, had the same issue. I don't see that happening, so it's possible YOU might be the real problem.

  86. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


    As a committed Linux user, I have not been able to use iTunes even when I had a functional iPod (it broke!).

    I started using Amarok for maintaining my iPod, and then discovered that I could buy music from Amazon's MP3 store using Linux, and plug the music into Amarok. The selection is quite extensive too.

    I am now using a no-name Chinese media player, and Amarok handles this as well (although I miss the music organizer that the iPod had). It can also handle TCMP on my Palm Treo.

    So, it should be possible to buy and run a Pre without needing iTunes.

    Apple do not yest

  87. Anonymous Coward

    Well done Palm!

    Brilliant! Palm just got Apple to admit, on the record, that they deliberately broke compatibility with a non-Apple device. They just blew the figleaf excuse of allowing other players in a non-discriminatory way - something that would have been very important if Apple wanted to show they weren't trying to act as a monopoly in some future antitrust litigation.

    The reason for doing this is obvious - the Pre competes with the iPhone, so it's in Apple's interest to make moving from the iPhone to the Pre as difficult as possible - and being seen as holding your music collection hostage is a pretty good way of doing it. However the tool they chose was to leverage an apparent monopoly position in one area (iTunes) to attempt to damage competition in another area.

    This is the behavior that got Microsoft into big trouble...

    What I'm going to be interested in is the next move from Palm. As Palm can update the Pre over the air, they obviously know quite a lot about iTunes sync and have good contacts inside Apple I'm guessing this 'outage' will be quite short lived if Palm decide it's worth fixing.

    Sean Timarco Baggaley: Not a horrible idea, but the Pre already supports Amazon's MP3 store - pretty nicely too! Unfortunately, in a fit of stupid, Sprint apparently don't allow the downloads over their really nice data network. Given Amazon use Sprint to deliver content to Kindles this is a little hard to understand (though Amanzon do pay for that privilege).

    B 9: Yep, no doubt if Apple pushed out a firmware update via iTunes for an iPod the Pre allow it to be installed and corrupt it's own firmware. You should apply to Mensa right now...

  88. bex

    @ Bilgepipe

    what I am saying some program/s I use on the macbook must have memory leaks its is not the OS's fault but the programs I rebooted the mac this morning, I have finder and firefox showing as running only and though firefox is a bit of a hog (220MB on one tab) its still on 1.20 GB used that's about 300 Meg missing in a few hours

    Blame the programs not the OS

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Jack Evans

    Cheers, but as I said it's a 2nd gen Nano - Rockbox doesn't support it (firmware is encrypted, so only able to use that which is delivered by iTunes). I'll give Floola another bash anyway.

  90. Dana W

    @Stike Vomit

    I love how i supported Microsoft from early dos, all the way to XP, and I was fine. I switch to Mac and I'm suddenly a brainless, clueless zombie, with no right to an opinion.

    I hated iTunes when I ran XP, it froze, it slowed down, it was a complete ball of crap. I refused to touch it. It was better than Musicmatch Jukebox, but that was about it. I ran my Windows iPods on Annapod from Redchair software.

    Two years ago, I went Mac for my primary machines, and I really didn't want to use iTunes. After a lot of hunting around I found no good non iTunes alternatives. At the time Songbird was not ready, and I didn't want to run an XP box just to support the iPod, so I grudgingly gave iTunes another try, and in OSX it gives me no problems at all. Yet when I work on people's Winboxes it goes back to being sluggish, crash happy crap.

    I have the latest iTunes running under Leopard on a dual 500 G4 tower for my entertainment center, it runs all my media, coverflow is smooth, and controls from my phone. Its trouble free.

    Blame Apple, or blame Microsoft, I don't care. But I agree that the iTunes experience IN WINDOWS leaves a great deal to be desired. I don't blame a single Windows user for not running it. If you run Windows and you need iTunes, you are just out of luck. May I suggest a different player? Go buy that Zune everyone seems to love so much. I won't stop you. Go get a Palm Pre and enjoy. But the iTunes issues I've had to support are almost always WINDOWS iTune issues. I've had plenty of experience with both, and they are not the same in reliability or usability.

    I just don't use my Winbox for the iPod. Problem solved. Not my fault you run Windows. I've seen too many applications that hemorrhage memory in Windows, but run fine in Mac. Sadville being a great example. You can actually watch it slow to a crawl. You can spot the Windows users by seeing who crashes every 45 minutes and complains constantly about the lag.

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