Palm files complaint with USB board over iTunes connectivity, and risks alienating Pre users in the process

Palm and Apple have been battling back and forth over the Palm Pre's ability to seamlessly sync with iTunes, with Palm recently releasing a software update to counteract an iTunes update released by Apple a few weeks ago.

Palm and Apple have been battling back and forth over the Palm Pre's ability to seamlessly sync with iTunes, with Palm recently releasing a software update to counteract an iTunes update released by Apple a few weeks ago.

iTunes is Apple created software and has been used quite successfully to drive sales of iPods and iPhones.  With easy access to an extensive library of music, movies, and television shows, iTunes is a popular media center that can often times influence the purchase decisions of customers.  As an example, if I have 300 songs I've purchased off of iTunes in addition to a season pass to 30 Rock, why would I want a media device, or smartphone in the case, that doesn't seamlessly sync up with iTunes?

Palm appreciates just how important iTunes content is as it attempts to steal away some of Apple's iPhone thunder, and by the looks of it, it's preparing for an all out battle to ensure iTunes connectivity for the Palm Pre.

When the Pre first hit the market, it was able to sync with iTunes because its USB vendor id tricked iTunes into thinking it was an iPod.  Apple soon issued an iTunes update to thwart that little trick, but Palm subsequently issued a software update of their own which now tricks iTunes into thinking that the device was made by Apple.  In order to pull that off, Palm essentially spoofed Apple's USB vendor id, which in case you weren't sure, is a big no-no.

Shockingly, though, Palm has defended its move and has filed a complaint with the USB Implemeneters Forum alleging that Apple is in violation of USB standards for restricting trade by not allowing every single device to sync up with iTunes.

Palm seems to be overstepping its bounds here for a variety of reasons.  First, iTunes is Apple's proprietary software and it shouldn't be forced to support and undergo testing to ensure that every third party media device can sync up with iTunes.  Second, and perhaps more importantly, Palm can easily write their own syncing software to serve as an intermediary between iTunes and the Palm Pre.  Apple does nothing to prevent this, and indeed, RIM recently came out with its own software for its BlackBerry devices that does just that.  Why should Apple be obligated to make things easy for Palm when they're the ones who put in the hard work in making iTunes the functional media player and media store that it is today?

And lastly, the ones who lose out in all of this are Palm Pre users.  For all we know, Apple will issue an iTunes update next week that will once again preclude Palm Pre users from syncing up their media content from iTunes.  One of the fundamental things that any consumer wants is consistency, and if I was a Pre user, I'd be pretty annoyed if my device's ability to sync up with iTunes changed every other week.

If Palm truly had the best interest of its users at heart, you would think that they would write syncing software like everybody else. Palm, though, seems dead serious on winning this battle, as evidenced with their complaint filed with the USB Implementers Forum.  In trying to defeat Apple, however, it may end up alienating its own users in the process.

Like this post? Check out these others from iOnApple.

Apple admits full responsibility for the removal of Google Voice from iTunes App Store

So you think you think you know Apple?

iPod...do you? A playful list of iPods

Microsoft adjusts "Laptop Hunter" ad after complaints from Apple Legal

Apple begins listening to developers, allows promo codes for 17+ apps once again

Apple website circa 1983

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Related:
Now read: Getting grounded in IoT