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USB Forum Sides With Apple Over Palm

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pre_itunes_noAfter months of software updates by the respective companies to disable and enable the Pre syncing with iTunes, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has ruled on the issue.

Palm (s palm) loses.

The standards group has not only rejected Palm’s claim of anti-competitive behavior by Apple (s aapl), but says that it is Palm that’s violating the USB-IF Membership Agreement, John Paczkowski at Digital Daily reports. The Pre’s touted “feature” of
media syncing with iTunes is accomplished by spoofing Apple’s USB vendor ID, in effect making the Pre appear to be an iPod.

In its letter to Palm and Apple, the USB-IF noted that “Palm may only use the single Vendor ID issued to Palm for Palm’s usage. Usage of any other company’s Vendor ID is specifically precluded.” Further, the USB-IF has asked Palm to clarify its “intent and respond to this potential violation within seven days.” Palm’s immediate response was to pontificate, asserting that the company believes “consumers should have freedom and choice in how and where they use the non-rights managed media they already own.”

And they do. The Pre is perfectly capable of managing media by drag-and-drop all by itself, and if Palm is all about “freedom and choice,” then where is the support for Zune software? Clearly, this has never been about consumer choice, but rather a beleaguered Palm maximizing its potential customer base with minimal development effort on its own part.

21 Responses to “USB Forum Sides With Apple Over Palm”

  1. Old Monkey

    Sync with Itunes? Well no accounting for taste, but why should Apple complain? One of the leading Palm OS software companies has a player that will sync with any juke box. Only argument Apple may have is, asking pmermission or demanding a royality.

    Speaking of Itunes, I paid money for a desktop plugin to get my Itouch to sync elsewhere. Apple has a habbit of putting poision pills to reteather its devices if you update their system software. Why the online music and app providers don’t cut deals to make it easier for the end user is beyond me.

  2. While I wholly agree Palm was in the wrong I feel there is a market for a “works with itunes” type device. Given the appropriate licensing (call it $1-2 a device sold) I can’t see why apple would complain, especially as it brings more users to spend money in the iTunes store.

    Getting the device to work correctly with the sync would be up to the manufacturer of course, which is probably why such a thing doesn’t exist. “crappy iTunes won’t work with my Creative Zen” etc.

  3. Bart Hanson

    Palm, if it is guilty, is guilty of exactly the same thing as Apple when Apple enabled pre 3GS iPhones to identify themselves as having “on device encryption” when connecting to exchange servers.

    • A big high-five to you, sir, as well as Ian. The answer is “it’s what people want.”

      If Palm does the work to make its phone sync with iTunes, more power to them, and it’s a loss for everyone when Apple starts breaking things on purpose.

  4. As I said in some other blog…now that GM has gone bankrupt, should they be allowed to use Toyota engine’s in their cars for free? That’s what Palm is doing…trying to use Apple’s work for free…why should they be allowed to do so?

    • Hi Mary!

      This isn’t really the best place to discuss a completely unrelated issue like email, and we’d need more info from you anyway to help you solve the problem (like “are you on a Mac or PC?”)

      For Mac help, you might try or I don’t know of any Windows forums that are as helpful as those, but I’m sure they’re out there (perhaps you could google “Windows newbies help”. You might also try calling the help line of your computer’s manufacturer, or OS maker (most likely either Microsoft or Apple).

      Good luck!

  5. You cannot be serious.

    “Where is the support for Zune software?”

    Why sould Palm spend any effort at all supporting software relatively few people use?

    This *is* about consumer choice. Specifically, many of Palm’s customers already use iTunes. If users begin flocking to Zune software Palm will likely support it as well.

    Apple is the bully here.

    • No, the issue here is very specifically about whether or not Palm violated its own agreement with the USB-IF. When asked to clarify it, Palm declined to give an actual answer to why they didn’t use the Vendor ID that they were given, instead choosing to try to make it seem like the USB-IF is just Apple’s collaborator in some scheme.

  6. I’m guessing Palm didn’t take a shot at Zune for the same reason they don’t make a gopher client. Palm knows what its users want — they may be in the wrong in this case, but there’s nothing in here worth cheering about.

  7. “minimal development effort on its own part” = stealing

    Palm’s behavior is disgraceful, unethical, and probably illegal. And it has the chutzpah to sue another company for using the Pre UI in a skin!

    • Old Monkey

      Hey Guy,

      Why don’t you now explain why Apple spends millions keeping its portable devices tethered to Itunes? If it is their intention to poison every workaround, isn’t that just as unethical? What about making all develoupers bow and beg for the privlige to sell programs that increase the value of their hardware?

      One thing for certain, my 32 Gig Itouch paperweight does not suck because of its design. I sucks because of Apple’s greedy desire they prefer it be useless unless they make a buck.

      My 3 year old Treo 700P does flash, as does my new Treo Pro. Both sync with any jukebox including Itunes. I will never buy another stinking piece of Apple garbage. Even Microsoft plays better in the sandbox with Windows Mobile. I hear I soon will be able to get an Opra browser with far better features than Safari