Why enabling the Palm Pre to sync up with iTunes is shortsighted

Sun, Oct 4, 2009


In case you missed it, Palm is up to its old tricks again and has re-enabled the ability of the Palm Pre to sync with iTunes.  As we’ve discussed previously, this back and forth cat and mouse game between Apple and Palm only serves to disrupt the user experience for Palm Pre owners, with their ability to access iTunes always being prone to removal at a moments notice.

Craig Hunter hits the nail on the head when he writes,

Clearly, other companies know how to sync painlessly with iTunes music (see RIM’s Blackberry Media Sync for example), so why doesn’t Palm develop a syncing solution for their own hardware? The exact reason is unknown, but my guess is that it’s a combination of things. Perhaps Palm doesn’t have the resources to develop their own sync app. Or maybe they want some publicity. Or maybe they just want to push Apple’s buttons. Who really knows. But I seriously question the strategy and brains of any company that ties critical product capabilities to the unsupported use of their competitor’s software. I mean, really? Can it get any more ridiculous? Can you possibly send a more mixed, less confidence-inspiring, “we’re a bunch of hacks who can’t provide our own sync software for our products” message to customers?

Moreover, the latest WebOS 1.2.1 update allows Pre users to transfer photos from iPhoto to their device, a move which Hunter points out only grows their dependence on iTunes.

What’s more, Palm has resorted to spoofing multiple USB IDs, including Apple’s USB Vendor ID, Manufacturer ID, and product ID, and even using an iPod serial number when connecting to iTunes. Besides giving a big eff-you to the USB Implementer’s Forum standards body, this sends a strong message that Palm is unwilling to offer their own sync solution and will instead do whatever it takes to keep expanding their use of iTunes, regardless of the legality or ethics.

Are some of the former Apple employees who now work at Palm simply trying to drive Apple crazy, or does Palm genuinely feel that the Pre can’t succeed without access to iTunes?  Or, perhaps, is it a little bit of both?


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. turk Says:

    “their dependence on iTunes” really? There are many places to download music and access web storage and data besides iTunes. Has anyone mentioned that the Pre comes loaded with Amazon MP3 so you can download all the multimedia you want. iTunes access is offered as a convenience for people that might own an iPod or use iTunes but don’t have the iPhone because AT&T sucks. If Palm is offering more people access to purchase iTunes material why is that bad for Apple? I don’t know, maybe they don’t want you using other phones, or maybe they can’t believe Apple employees would rather work for another company.

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