Apple takes a bite off the Palm

July 23, 2009 by
Filed under: Technology 

Apple

One of the most impressive (or at least intriguing) features of the Palm Pre was its ability to “sync” directly to iTunes. It made it the only pretend-iPod phone available to the non iPhone world (if that makes any sense). As you probably know, the Palm Pre was designed by ex Apple employees hired by Palm to revolutionize their product line. That they did but they also brought in the keys to the iTunes kingdom giving the Pre a hand over other smarthph
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Apple, of course, did not like it.

This is the deal: Apple recently announced that the new version of iTunes will most likely not allow non-Apple devices that sync to it to continue

to do so. They did not specifically name Palm, but who are they kidding we all know who they’re taking about. It is not a reaction that is surprising. As we all know, Apple likes control over the entire experience and does not like intruders in their system. That is what has made them so successful in the port

able music business and now smartphones. It is not surprising that Palm tried it either, what is surprising is that there are no lawyers back and forth arguing each others case.

Apple can claim unlicensed use of technology and it will be hard to argue. When Palm announced this feature in the Pre we all made funny faces. Why did Apple allow that? It turns out they didn’t. So a law suit could have been in order. Granted, not to much to be gained and they managed to control the damage relatively quickly. So, if you bought the Pre and had it working with iTunes DO NOT upgrade either one (ever) you might luck out and they can still work.

Palms legal case may be a bit more interesting, but too big and complex for Palm to entertain sponsorship. Let me explain: If you’re old enough to remember Netscape and its demise you’ll understand. Microsoft used its huge market share (i.e monopoly) to take Netscape out by simply including I.E. (Internet Explorer) as part of Windows. Magically 97% of PC in the world had I.E. If you wanted Netscape you had to download install, etc. so it became a pain. In April iTunes became the number one music retailer in the world when it passed Wal-Mart. It is no doubt the leader in portable music players and distributor of digital music. By locking iTunes to work only with Apple products, one can allege that they are using their market leadership position to fend out hardware competitors.

Yeah, Yeah, I know, Palm will never do it, and Apple will claim that they have leadership in music players and smartphones simply because their product is much, much better. Tough to argue, and tough to prove wrong or right. But it makes you wonder why all of us geeks complaint about Microsoft’s muscle games but ignore (actually admire) Apple’s? Is it because Apple has mastered the geek-appeal?

Enjoy.

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