Makes both companies look bad
But affects my willingness to buy a Palm product only. I don't care that much about the circumstances, but I do care if one of the advertised features of a product is flakey at best.
Apple's Thursday update to iTunes - version 9.0.2 - yet again kicks the Palm Pre off Cupertino's media-sync reservation. At least that's the word from pre|central.net. Palm did not immediiately respond to our request for confirmation, but considering the long and contentious will-sync/won't-sync back-and-forth between Palm and …
As much as I tend to butt heads with you over your fondness for Apple I will agree that Palm really should give up. Though At the same time seeing this kind of fighting going back and forth between the two companies is rather humorous.
You will tell us when you know what Palm did this time to gain access and how it was blocked I hope?
"Note to Palm: just write your own damn iTunes Library–accessing software. If RIM can do it with Desktop Manager's BlackBerry Media Sync utility, why can't you?"
Well, the Apple fanbuoys and Apple ongoing efforts to nullify Palm probes generate such an amount of free press.... If I was Palm or Apple, I couldn't dream of a better press-coverage stunt...
Apple provide an operating system with a media library that will only synch with its own devices (please please please don't bring up the XML file). I for one expect the media libary to be able to synchronise without resorting to third party software. If this were windows the cries of "monopoly abuse" would be in plentiful supply.
Apple users criticise PCs for the amount of junk that third parties install, and yet here is Apple condoning that very junk. Imagine if Macs only worked with Time Capsules or Airstations. They pick and choose when to be "compatible" when it suits them.
Yes its very easy for Palm to write their own software, its even easier for Apple to allow other devices to work with iTunes. But that would be about as likely as them dropping their prices.
I don't know if the Zune comes with it's own media software or not, but if it does, I sure the hell wouldn't expect to sync my iPod (hypothetical - I don't own one) to it. Give it up, Apple has the moral high ground here. If Microsoft did the same thing under the same circumstances, I'd say the same about them. Palm broke the USB spec, broke the terms of their USB vendor ID license, and generally is making a public fool of themselves over this. Personally, I think at this point the best thing that Apple could do is to write an iPod update patch that takes the connected device ID at it's word before it flashes it.
Didn't Palm do exactly that? They wrote a library that allows their device to speak the protocol that MacOS X's default music management application uses to synchronise with devices.
I'd have more sympathy for Apple if iTunes could synchronise with generic MP3 players out of the box (via USB Mass Storage Class or MTP). But instead, they consider it a feature that it will only synchronise with own-brand devices. And if pretending to be an iPod at the protocol level is the only way to achieve interoperability then so be it.
Apple's actions are anti-competitive, and it is hard to see any benefit to the user.
Oh FFS Palm! Instead of dicking around making yourselves look like the complete prats you are, why don't you do yourselves and your few customers a favour and use doubleTwist ( http://www.doubletwist.com )? "Palm Pre - automatically convert your videos and sync them to your Palm Pre; sync your iTunes playlists and photo library."
This suite allows complete integration with the iTunes library and any other media files scattered around the user's storage. It works with almost every device known to man, I use it to sync playlists etc. to my Android devices, mirroring my iPhone as required.
Palm would do well to put a big sticker on the box to promote doubleTwist. At least that way this stupid tussle would be over and done with in an instant.
The media library, which everyone(Well, Palm at least) wants to access is a folder with .MP3/.ACC/.MP4/.Whatever files and a hunkin great .XML file.
The specification for the .XML file is available online, for FREE, so ANYONE(but Palm it seems) can write their own parser to access it.
iTunes is just Apple's iPod synch software and Media access tool.
You only need iTunes if you want to synch to an iPod or buy music from iTMS.
You Don't need it for anything else. Want to use a third-party music player?
Go ahead, as mentioned before, the specification for the library is available for anyone!
"Give it up, Apple has the moral high ground here. If Microsoft did the same thing under the same circumstances, I'd say the same about them."
Really? If Microsoft stopped third-party device access to Windows Media Player there wouldn't be a bajillion and one people complaining about it?
For the record, I don't think that the Zune software does allow third-party synchronisation. However, the reason that Apple not allowing iTunes to sync with non-Apple hardware is wrong for me is because it is the DEFAULT media player for OS X, and as such is the most likely to be used by OS X users. This is essentially forcing people to buy Apple unless they want to take the time to set up another library in another bit of proprietary software.
Windows Media Player is the default media player for Windows (well, unless you get a N/KN version), and allows any certified third-party vendor to synchronise with it. If Microsoft suddenly ditched the Zune software and made WMP sync only with the Zune then there would be outrage, and probably legal action.
Of course, a bunch of people will tell me that this is because Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. However, this doesn't make it right for anyone else to use the same tactics that would get said convicted monopolist sued.
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I think the point here is being missed. Of course they could write their own sync software, or license doubleTwist, or any other third party software. They shouldn't have to; there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to plug a music playing device into your computer and have it sync with the standard software, or any other standards-compliant music library software I choose to install.
Certainly on a PC I wouldn't consider using a player that required custom software or drivers to be installed to use, this is built in OS functionality. Similarly, if I installed new music library software, I would expect it to be compatible with every music playing device I wanted to sync it to.
Sadly, this is just par for the course for Apple, who bring a control-freak lockdown mentality to everything they produce. I think it's what makes them popular - some people like the security comfort of knowing they can't do anything that hasn't been specifically approved, in the approved way.
Why not bring up the XML file? You're criticising Apple for not letting other manufacturers' devices sync to iTunes, when in fact they have provided a very clear way to do just that. Palm have just ignored it completely and set about breaking conventions and agreements re USB devices, seemingly for the hell of it.
Other phone manufacturers don't seem to have a problem interfacing with iTunes - eg the aforementioned RIM, Nokia et al. Nor, for that matter do alternative vendors of music downloads, eg Amazon and eMusic, both of which have download managers that automatically add your purchases into iTunes - so you're not even limited to the iTunes store for purchases. And then there are the utilities others have mentioned, like DoubleTwist, that Palm could licence/bundle if they really can't do their own. Oh, and as for generic MP3 players that mount as disc drives, I believe from a small amount of research (hey, isn't this internet thing marvellous?), but haven't confirmed in practice (cos I have an iPod and iPhone and can't really be arsed) that you can drag and drop straight out of iTunes. So no problem there, either.
Bottom line is that World+dog seem to be able to interface with iTunes properly except Palm, who are just being wilfully stupid, frankly, and messing their customers about something rotten in the process.
But I reckon it's time Apple get their legal arses into gear and pushed for the USB IF to have Palm's USB credentials revoked - Taking a baseball bat round to Palm's house seems not to be an option but I don't believe Palm would have grounds to complain if anyone did.
When it comes to freetards, Palm take the biscuit. No way would I buy a Palm product after their nonsense on this issue, and I'm encouraging others not to. I forgive Palm for 'trying it on' in the first place, saw a gap and went for it, but if they cannot deal with the problem without persistently resorting to breaking the rules they aren't much of a credible company in my eyes.
Zune used to synch through Windows Media Player, and many other players still do. Apple artificially restrict their software so it will synchronise only with their device. iTunes was not created as a means to synchronise iPod music, that came later. Pre-ipod other devices were allowed to synchronise. In fact I think several of those devices are still supported, although they are so ancient nobody uses them any more.
Frankly, screw even going near a Pre. I was considering some form of smartphone to reduce the number of gadgets that I need to carry, but I don't intend to buy something based around such childish and unprofessional "haxx". I don't want to be caught unable to access my device due to Palm's mewlish refusal to act like grownups.
Just die already Palm, your time has clearly passed, and you've gone a bit David Icke. There are plenty of other better choices that either have their own software, or adhere to relevant standards, so they don't need it.
"the best thing that Apple could do is to write an iPod update patch that takes the connected device ID at it's word before it flashes it."
And the Pre software would go "oh look, someones asking me to erase myself. I'd better do what it tells me".
I'm guessing you're not a software engineer.
"Apple artificially restrict their software so it will synchronise only with their device." What a load of unmitigated bollocks. They don't 'artificially' restrict THEIR software. I capitalised a key word that you used twice in your sentence.
@"if Microsoft did it..." They haven't, so it's irrelevant. I believe Microsoft would do exactly the same as Apple have. If the role were reversed, Palm would do the same.
@"Apple are anti-competative" or "abusing their monopoly" NO. Firstly WHAT FUCKING MONOPOLY!!! As Lincoln was attributed, "It is better to say nothing at all and let others think you a fool than to open your mouth and leave them in no doubt.".
....does anyone else get the feeling that a couple of the posters here have Palm Pre's and are just feeling a bit sore about the whole thing?
Palm broke agreed regulations regarding USB spec so that they could basically "hack" their way into forcing iTunes to recognise their devices. They're quite simply throwing their toys out of the pram because Apple don't want to allow them to promote their devices using Apple's own software.
Apple don't have a problem with Palm using the store, but do have a problem with them piggy-backing their device into Apple's software and then marketing this as a selling point for the device.
I have two points to make...
1 - As much as I hate this fact, iTunes is not open source, and just because it comes pre-installed on macs and can play music files, doesn't mean Apple are somehow obliged to support everybody elses devices. It's their software, they get to write it how they wish. In this regard, they are not in the wrong. Just like in windows, if you don't like the limits of their media player, you can install another one, just having the thing installed in the first place doesn't somehow lock you and your music to just them.
2 - As much as I hate it, Apple seem to be releasing patches specifically aimed at crippling whatever sync hole that Palm are using to pretend they are an iPod. This means that for some reason I'm alot more frequently updating iTunes, potentially exposing myself to new bugs (like random tracks dissapearing from my lib, or tracks duplicating themselves within albums and overwriting the older one). That to me, is where Apple are being tossers. Fine - patch your software if it closes a security risk, or fixes an annoying bug - doing extra work to cut somebody out when you should be fixing actual bugs is why I'm annoyed.
In the end though, Palm are just making themselves look silly, and opening themselves up to lawsuits for no reason. It would take a decent developer less than a day to write a half-arsed app that parsed an xml file, gave the user a checkbox of playlists/albums/artists to copy across, and initiate the copy. I don't see why Palm can't spend a few hours doing that, rather than hacking usb id's!? Surely it's far easier just to do the app and forget this whole mess. Nokia did it, RIM do it... it's not hard. I can only conclude they do this because it keeps their little phone in the news a little longer... even if it is for the wrong reasons.
"Because if they do Apple can decide to just continue to abuse their monopoly by disabling access here too. This is why Apple needs to face an anti-trust case, just as Microsoft tied IE to Windows but allowed other browsers to be installed half-arsed, Apple is tying iTunes to the iPod/iPhone and only allowing other players/phones to be used in a half assed manner."
I've had a few MP3 players in my time, and all of them (apart from the iPod) have supported Windows Media Player. However, they have rarely synced with WMP out of the box. I have often had to install plugins to enable the sync.
When I had my N95, I was able to sync it with iTunes on OSX. How? Nokia wrote a plug in. A plug in that has worked through several versions of iTunes. Exactly what RIM have done, and what Palm should do.
So, Windows Media Player will support most MP3 players through plug ins. So will iTunes. What's the difference?
The one difference is that if I purchase something from the iTunes Music store, then I cannot use it on a non-Apple MP3 player. However, seeing as there is nothing I want that I can't get via other legal means (another store), I am actually not bothered about that.
OK, maybe Apple should directly support MP3 players, but it is their software. They can do what they want with it. I wouldn't expect Creative (for instance) to write Media Manager software that supported the iPod and release it for free.
There is one simple answer to this
"Because if they do Apple can decide to just continue to abuse their monopoly by disabling access here too. "
Seriously, Apple can block access to a publiched config of an open XML file and a simple file structure?
"Apple is tying iTunes to the iPod/iPhone and only allowing other players/phones to be used in a half assed manner" Yes, so does Zune, so does Blackberry, and SO DOES PALM!
"This automatically gives them an unfair advantage by leveraging their monopoly to push into other areas, this is without question abuse of monopoly. The problem is the US DoJ is scared to deal with Apple because they want a competitor to Microsoft so they're fucked whatever they do- if they deal with Apple's monopoly abuse they risk weakening Apple and strengthening Microsoft's monopoly and if they don't deal with Apple they're guilty of double standards by only upholding competition law in the case of Microsoft but not Apple- this is why nothing has happened yet but if Apple continues too much further down this path it might well face antitrust charges." You lack any understanding of the words"monopoly" and "anticompetitive" Apple is NOT a monopoly in the media market, the media player market, or even just the online distributed media market. Further, they have not taken direct action to prevent a competitor from entering the market (aside from enforcing legaly held patents), nor have they engaged in illegal activities such as price fixing, etc. They offer an open source system of access to their data, provide DRM free music at the lowest price. Even if they WERE a monopoly, their use of their own software, marketed to support their own and only their devices, is not anticompetitive as the music acquired through it can BOTH be played in other available players, including free ones, and can also be acquired easily elsewhere for the same or lower price, and that it is also compatible with thweir own player (unless their competitor uses proprietary DRM). There's no case against apple, they have done no wrong, and the environment could not be much more competitive and thriving.
"You know, that phone which is built of the backs of decades of research by Nokia and for which Apple is the only handset developer not willing to pay the legally required patent licensing payments for?" No, the Broadcom CHIPSET in the iPhone is built on that research, and broadcom pays for it. Nokia is suing apple for patents that have not held up in court yet, based on a 3rd party inclusion of the chips, and based on failed logical leaps, and extreme fees which apple has countercharged do not meet the legal definition of "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) even if Apple was subjec to them. You can not use Nokia against apple until there is an actual case of evidence presented and this proceeds into court. They're still in DISCOVERY for christs sake and have not even had time to counter sue or post their own comments on the case! Apple does not make the technology, they make the packaing, and the OS running on it. That's it.
"stealing patents" Really? So, um, if these people are known, where are the $100M lawsuits and injunctions against further sale of the iDevice? Apple stole no patents here. A few challengers came forward and the PTO after review discarded their patents, showed them to not be related, or showed them Apple's patent predated their own for that use. Apple's patent law team is of the best in the world. They do not make mistakes often, and when they DO (because some obscure patent that did not come out in dicovery surfaced) they have settled and paid without much dispute and acquired the appropriate licensing. Apple files as many as 100 patents per new device, and confirms there are no patent issues that can be identified (and often they come across them and redesign around them) before they produce a product.
Apple is not preventing the palm deivce from working with their OS, or their hardware. They are preventing Palm for integrating into software that Apple, at its own costs, has to debug. The sync system in iTunes does not copy music from one directory to a mapped folder on a USB mount as window smedia player does, it connects to a proprietary file system of Apple's design and patent using a secure connection, monitors device settings, collects logs, patches firmware, and syncs a hell of a lot more than music files. This would be like saying Palm had to license their Palm Desktop software to all comers, which they themselves not only refused to do but PALM SUED PEOPLE for trying to circumvent. This is the buiggest case of the pot calling the kettle black I have ever seen, and they have lost in both court of opinion and court of law at every turn.
iTunes is not a monopuly, its an application. It is NOT required to sync. It is NOT required to play the music bought through it. It can play music and files bought through other services. No, you can not sync a iPod without it, but you can't sync a Zune without microsoft's software either, nor a Palm PDA of old, nor a motorolla cell phone, thay ALL use proprietary packages. iTunes simply offers more at YOUR OPTION.
All palm needs to do is supprot apple's FULLY AUTHORIZED AND FREELY LICENSED sync option, which more than a dozen other companies already do. Palm is simply lazy.
Did apple do this JUST to break Palm OS?
"iTunes 9.0.2 adds support for Apple TV software version 3.0, adds an option for a dark background for Grid View, and improves support for accessibility."
Yes, they broke Palm OS again. They're OBLIGATED to do so by combinations of the USB-IF rules, trademark infringement issues, ond ongoing litigation. Thay must considder Palm's "attack" on iTunes to be a bug, and it has to be treated as one with an identification of how it was done, identification of a code fix, and deployment of a confirmed resolution.
imagine Apple's surprise if they had not, and Palm creates their own bug that allowed Apple's iTunes to overwrite a critical file on the Pre bricking it. If Apple was not actively trying to prevent Palm from using sync, it could legally be argued the continued "allowance" of that was a permissive and supported allowance (since apple DOES openly support 3rd party integration on many other levels, especially access to the database, but many apps like TuneUp go way beyond that, legally, today). Then, if something a user could do could brick the Pre, Apple might be held responsible legally as well.
The iTunes sync system is NOT a sync system. It;s a per-device customized management interface, handling firmware, device configuration, carrier files, interface to Microsoft Outlook (which Apple pays a royalty for btw), storage management on USB enabled devices, contact management, application management, and much much more. By APalm interfacing into that system as an Apple device, the error information being handled behind the scenes to keep iTunes from crashing as a result is REDICULOUS. Lvl 4 bug reporting generated MEGS of log data when a Pre is connected. Apple is being forced by Palm to manage that code at their own cost. Palm approached apple about syncing, but refused apple's offered price for native integration, so in leiu of writing a simple app (like many indie developers have done using 1 or 2 staffers in a few weeeks time), they chose to violate the USB convention and hack apple. Smart move...
Apple (and for that matter RIM) have strong sales for their smartphones, Palm have seen theirs fall through the floor. Maybe they should concentrate on making their products better, rather than trying to hang on to Apple's coat-tails. The much-hyped Pre is no iPhone beater, so they should grasp some reality and invest in the next one, and try and do a better job than the iPhone, instead of beating their head against this brick wall, whatever the rights and wrongs.
You know, the sort of people who buy a new computer when the power lead falls out?
Palm are writing software to help their non-technical customers who don't want to have to use one application to buy music, and another application to copy it onto their iPhone. That's a perfectly reasonable (and laudable) thing for them to do.
Apple are writing patches to punish customers who dare to buy someone else's hardware. They've always done that (just look at the buggy crap that is the Windows versions of QT or iTunes). Apple are morally in the wrong, but they don't care, because their shite doesn't smell.
. . . is a service for content owners publishing through the iTunes store. Apple does not try to be a walled garden distributor of video and audio content, but does ensure availability of content in a form that meets Apple's user experience requirements and works on Apple's devices. Apart from that, Apple strongly encourages freely licensable standard format content with no DRM.
"You know, the sort of people who buy a new computer when the power lead falls out?"
No - nobody I know is that stupid, even my 70 year old father in law isn't that stupid... he's asked me to fix his computer when it didn't switch on (power lead fell out, ironically) - but he's never gone out and bought a new computer.
"Palm are writing software... "
Correction - Palm are making tiny modifications and falsifying device id's.. there is no real writing of software on their part. Actually, they are misusing a standard so they can plug into somebody elses software to do something that the software writer (Apple, not Palm) didn't want the software to do. If it was somebody doing that to my application, I'd be pretty annoyed too - especially when that other person was using this hack as a sales feature over my own product.
"... to help their non-technical customers who don't want to have to use one application to buy music, and another application to copy it onto their iPhone. That's a perfectly reasonable (and laudable) thing for them to do."
If the user wants the experience you speak of, then they can modify their purchasing to fit with that. Buy a Nokia (it Comes With Music apparently), it also has WMP, Winamp, and iTunes plugins. Same with any other major manufacturer really.... incidently, they all work with double twist! ;)
"Apple are writing patches to punish customers who dare to buy someone else's hardware."
Actually, it's not punishing customers - if you buy from itunes then the mp3 (if aac then you right click on the track and select "make mp3 version") is movable to your Pre, or any other device, providing you didn't buy a DRM track, which the customer wouldn't do if they expected it to play on a Palm Pre anyway (DRM sucks, but that's not the issue here). You seem to think that because Palm have said "sync's with iTunes" in the news, and then told their phone to lie to iTunes and say it's an iPod, that Apple are somehow wrong for not wanting that.
"They've always done that (just look at the buggy crap that is the Windows versions of QT or iTunes)."
Buggy versions?? lol - iTunes is buggy in both Windows and OSX... I actually wish Winamp or Amarok would get their arses into gear and do a decent port to OSX. Recently I've had tracks dissapear in my itunes library, entire artists being renamed as somebody completely different, and once or twice iPhoto and iTunes have crashed out whenever I plugged my iPhone in. Incidentally, Quicktime has sucked on any operating system. This is not them punishing people, it's just poor programming - but at least they are attemping to make something, unlike Palm in this case.
"Apple are morally in the wrong, but they don't care, because their shite doesn't smell."
But they arn't morally wrong IN THIS CASE... ok, in other cases they would be, but in this particular issue they aren't the wrong party.
FYI - I'm assuming their shite smells really bad - especially if Jobs is a fruititarian... eek!
Having a dominant (in the market) media store and management software that then syncs automatically to any media player - fine.
Have a dominant position in media playing devices and management software that syncs automatically to any download service - fine.
Have a dominant download service that uses the management software to automatically sync to only one (dominant) device - not fine.
I'd take a wild guess that Palm have been given a cast iron legal opinion that Apple are acting in an anti-competitive way.
Any requirement to install extra software to be able to access media you've bought from a store would be seen as anti-competitive as it mitigates against the device with extra software. I suspect that other manufacturers haven't done it before because they were busy promoting either their own stores (eg sony/ Nokia ovi) or microsoft backed service compatibility. I guess no-one before has had the bottle/desire/money to take Apple on legally but Palm have decided that if their phone's going to be an ipod killer then they really need to get at the installed base of itunes users.
I mean, they wrote the program, built the computer, they have every right to decide what device can work with it, right? How come they accept to work with a Dell computer mouse, but not with a Palm Pre phone?
Still pissed off when anybody takes pain to stop something that works from working.
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