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Industry Group: It's OK for Apple's iTunes to Block Palm Pre Sync

Apple Inc. appears to have clearance from an industry group to block rival Palm Inc.'s Pre phone from connecting with iTunes software. 

Palm complained to the group in July that Apple was improperly using its USB vendor code to block competitors. But the group disagreed in a letter sent to both companies Tuesday.

The letter also warned that if Palm updates the Pre's software to include Apple's vendor code — a move Palm indicated in its complaint that it planned to make in order to restore the iTunes feature — it would violate the group's rules.

The group asked Palm to clarify its intent and respond within a week about the potential violation.

Palm spokesman Derick Mains said the company contacted the USB group because it believes consumers should be able to decide how they use media they own that is not subject to copy-protection restrictions. He said Palm is reviewing the letter and will respond if it thinks it is appropriate.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the company had no comment.

The iTunes spat is part of a larger rivalry building between Apple and Palm, whose chairman and CEO, Jon Rubinstein, once was an executive at Apple and oversaw the iPod. The Pre includes a "multi-touch" screen like Apple's iPhone, which lets users do things like pinch the screen to zoom in and out of photos.

PreCentral reported earlier today that webOS 1.2.1 will be delayed but that the new release will fix the iTunes sync. Considering it was report that the iTunes initial sync was just shy of two and a half hours to repair, we would have to bet that we haven't heard the end of this battle.

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Reader Comments (4)

Should we be surprised?

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDon

Talk about another poor business decision! They make money from iTunes. Not everyone will buy an iPhone so if they allow access they are still making money from selling music. This is exactly why Microsoft has the lion’s share of the computer software market. Apple tried to keep everything to itself instead of outsourcing and growing they kept a great product too expensive and limited their growth.

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHarky

Well Harky, maybe that's why Apple controls one of the safest computing environments around. Control doesn't have to be a bad thing, if you agree with the amount of, and direction of the control it's a very good thing.... if you don't, Don't buy Apple products.... it's called consumer freedom. Bye!

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Dave, you need to consider though why it is one of the safest environments: even still not that many people own macs, so the decision to create malware for them isn't financially as practical. I don't want to buy something just to be told I can't use it as I wish.

Where control becomes a bad thing is when users pay sometimes 2, even 3 times as much for a product or service and then loose functionality and capabilities. Restriction stifles creativity, particularly in electronics. Apple has made several corporate decisions in their products to limit what their devices are capable of doing, and as such will fall short in their devices. Ask any Tiger, Leopard, or Snow Leopard user, on those computers you either do things the Mac way or it doesn't get done. Often times, it can't be done. On a Windows environment and even more so on a Linux based environment, the user is in more control over the platform and as such able to do quite a lot more.

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

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