Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 24th Jul 2009 22:52 UTC
Editorial Every few years we geeks have our own kind of popcorn show to watch: tech companies showing teeth to one another. This time around, it's Palm vs Apple. In all seriousness though, how ethical is the battle around iTunes?
Order by: Score:
What Palm really should have done
by ThanhLy on Fri 24th Jul 2009 23:12 UTC
ThanhLy
Member since:
2006-03-14

Give us the BeOS source code, that's what they really should have done. But I digress.

Reply Score: 1

Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Palm does not own the BeOS source code. Access/PalmSource does, which is NOT the same company as Palm. After 7 years, many of you ex-BeOS OSNews readers still can't make the distinction. Makes you wonder.

Reply Score: 4

John Blink Member since:
2005-10-11

Palm buys Handspring.
Palm split in two. Palm/Palmsource.
Palmsource is renamed to ACCESS Systems Americas.

Is WebOS developed by Palm (the hardware company), or is some of it based on code from ACCESS (the independant software company)?

Or is Palm a software company again?

I don't know.

Edited 2009-07-25 04:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

mbpark Member since:
2005-11-17

WebOS is based entirely on Palm's internal code. I do not believe any part of PalmOS or Access Linux Platform is part of it. The "Classic" part of WebOS is an application licensed from someone else who apparently has a license from Access to write said emulator.

However, Classic is not part of WebOS, at least not on my Pre ;) .

The BeOS source code is still owned by Access, as is Cobalt and the other PalmOS iterations. One of their representatives has posted here multiple times, and the likelihood of them open-sourcing BeOS or the other code they possess far outweighs the monetary benefit they would derive from it (not much).

Reply Score: 1

I agree
by kragil on Fri 24th Jul 2009 23:17 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

I sue U.

Or

Songbird + Amazon.

Reply Score: 2

Ethics
by BTrey on Fri 24th Jul 2009 23:34 UTC
BTrey
Member since:
2006-03-27

Palm should have not done that because it's not ethical to claim that you're someone else.

There is no person claiming that they're someone else. There is a device that replies with the response necessary in order to interface with a particular program. It's called reverse engineering for compatibility and there's absolutely nothing unethical about it. Comparing a person misrepresenting their identity with a device providing a response code is downright silly. I expect, and usually get, higher quality analysis than that from this website.

Apple, by their ill considered and arrogant actions, are the ones who set up the requirements which compelled Palm's action in order to interoperate with the software. If it's unethical to use a Palm device with iTunes by providing the required response code, then it's also unethical to "trick" a Windows program into thinking it's running on Windows via a Linux Wine installation.

Reply Score: 12

RE: Ethics
by Eugenia on Fri 24th Jul 2009 23:40 UTC in reply to "Ethics"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

I disagree.

"Unauthorized use of assigned or unassigned USB Vendor ID Numbers and associated Product ID Numbers are strictly prohibited."

This is what the signed contracts say, for any manufacturer that uses USB. Palm did overstep boundaries. And to me, that's both a legal and an ethical problem.

Edited 2009-07-24 23:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Ethics
by Macrat on Sat 25th Jul 2009 03:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Ethics"
Macrat Member since:
2006-03-27

Note that Blackberry ships a syncing app that can parse the iTunes library without having to pretend to be an iPod.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Ethics
by David on Sat 25th Jul 2009 05:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Ethics"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

I do believe that for violation of the terms of the USB contract, the only thing at stake is being able to claim that your device is USB compliant, and to be able to use the USB logo. So as long as Palm doesn't care that it's officially USB compliant, they could unilaterally withdraw from its obligations under that contract, which I believe they would be able to do in a completely ethical way.

I might be misunderstanding the complete terms of the agreement with the USB consortium, but I that's my contribution to the debate.

As for making a device that "pretends" to be another device, I don't think that's unethical at all. Have you ever used a universal remote? Is there anything wrong with that? How much do you want to be that Sony wishes it could force you to buy new remotes from them only?

But I do agree with you 100% that Apple has reached the point where their iTunes and iPod market share have qualified them as a bona fide monopoly, and that therefore their competitors qualify for some consideration and protection under anti-trust law. I agree with the main thrust of your thesis that Palm should have pressed its case in the courts instead of with a tit for tat game.

Edited 2009-07-25 05:18 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Ethics
by Hakime on Sat 25th Jul 2009 05:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ethics"
Hakime Member since:
2005-11-16

"So as long as Palm doesn't care that it's officially USB compliant, they could unilaterally withdraw from its obligations under that contract, which I believe they would be able to do in a completely ethical way. "

Palm has itself a vendor ID, so it has to agree with this (from the vendor ID form):

The company set forth above hereby applies for a USB Vendor ID Number and agrees to the following: The USB Implementers Forum is the authority which assigns and maintains all USB Vendor ID Numbers. Each Vendor ID Number is assigned to one company for its sole and exclusive use, along with associated Product ID Numbers. They may not be sold, transferred, or used by others, directly or indirectly, except in special circumstances and then only upon prior written approval by USB-IF. Unauthorized use of assigned or unassigned USB Vendor ID Numbers and associated Product ID Numbers are strictly prohibited.

"But I do agree with you 100% that Apple has reached the point where their iTunes and iPod market share have qualified them as a bona fide monopoly, and that therefore their competitors qualify for some consideration and protection under anti-trust law."

You don't understand what you are talking about, do you understand what anti-trust means, i don't think so,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-trust_law

Find me one only time when Apple has tried to restrict competition against iTunes, it simply does not exists.... Apple monopoly exists because no competitor could come up with a credible alternative, period. Again, i call it natural monopoly.

Edited 2009-07-25 05:29 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Ethics
by David on Sat 25th Jul 2009 05:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Ethics"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

Yes, but my point is that this entire agreement is with the USB consortium, and I'm not sure whether what's at stake is merely Palm's membership in good standing with that consortium.

That is, I'm not certain that Palm can't just decide that it doesn't care whether it's officially USB compliant and just decide it doesn't care to abide by those terms anymore. If you want to make a "USB" device, and you don't care about having the USB logo, you don't have to sign that contract or agree to any of that. The zillions of small-fry hardware manufacturers out there certainly don't. Now, some of them use the USB logo anyway (and could get sued for trademark infringement) and some don't. But I'm wondering whether Palm could just join their ranks. I mean, who's going to not buy a Pre just because there's no USB logo on the box?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Ethics
by Hakime on Sat 25th Jul 2009 05:35 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Ethics"
Hakime Member since:
2005-11-16

What?

I said you that Palm has an vendor ID, what this story logo? Did you ever see an USB logo on an ipod?

Anyway without it, no Product ID, so it can't sync with iTunes as it first checks for the product ID. So what the point for Palm?

Edited 2009-07-25 05:39 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Ethics
by David on Sat 25th Jul 2009 06:25 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Ethics"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

But who gave Palm the vendorID? I believe that it was the USB Implementers Forum that hands out the Product IDs. Just because Apple uses the vendorID to tell what's an Apple iPod and what isn't, doesn't mean that Palm ever made any agreement with Apple to only identify its devices as Palm devices. Palm made that agreement with the USB Implementers Forum. And what I'm wondering is whether Palm can just back out of that agreement. Apple doesn't have anything to do with Palm's relationship with USB Implementers Forum.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Ethics
by looncraz on Sat 25th Jul 2009 20:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Ethics"
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

Find me one only time when Apple has tried to restrict competition against iTunes, it simply does not exists.... Apple monopoly exists because no competitor could come up with a credible alternative, period. Again, i call it natural monopoly.



Just do a nice web-search for iTunes alternatives. Apple's behavior regarding the iPhone's app repo should be telling enough, I'd think...

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Ethics
by AdamW on Sat 25th Jul 2009 20:27 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Ethics"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

"Find me one only time when Apple has tried to restrict competition against iTunes, it simply does not exists"

All the times when they've shipped iPod firmware updates that intentionally prevent third party applications syncing with iPods.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Ethics
by sbergman27 on Sun 26th Jul 2009 16:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Ethics"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Palm has itself a vendor ID, so it has to agree with this (from the vendor ID form):

Honestly, this thread reminds of of this exchange:

===
Bystander 1: Oh my God! That old lady just got hit by a bus!

Bystander 2: Oh no! What color was the bus?!
===

There are far larger, and far more significant issues involved here than adherence to a hardware spec.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Ethics
by rdean400 on Sun 26th Jul 2009 15:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Ethics"
rdean400 Member since:
2006-10-18

I don't think it's a question that Palm violated that clause, but I think it's a fair argument that Apple did, too.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ethics
by ralish on Sun 26th Jul 2009 08:51 UTC in reply to "Ethics"
ralish Member since:
2009-05-13

No, there IS a device claiming it is something else, as it replies with USB Vendor IDs that are assigned to Apple for use with THEIR devices. Palm does not have the ethical right to use these IDs, and quite possibly, not the legal right. This isn't a matter of simply replying with the required code, it admittedly is that, but it's also doing so in order to interoperate with a product, despite the fact that the author of said product quite clearly does not wish to interoperate.

Now, you can disagree with this mentality of trying to break interoperability, and personally, I do disagree with it strongly, I think it's completely wrong. However, I also need to recognise that this is Apple's software, Apple's devices, and Apple's IP (however ill-gained), and I fail to see why they are legally compelled (if not ethically compelled) to make their software interoperable. It'd be nice if they did, but they don't have to, and frankly, from a business sense, I can see why. iTunes is clearly meant to be seen as part of the advantage of owning an Apple PMP (I view it as the opposite), and allowing it to work with competitors products is essentially giving them a free and possibly highly compelling advantage.

Further, your comparison of running a Windows product under WINE is invalid and a fallacy, as the Windows product has likely made no attempt to attempt to ensure that the product does not run under WINE, and likely, neither does the author have any objections. Both are not the case in this instance.

This notion that if a company doesn't make their products interoperable they should be taken to court with an "I'll sue you " mentality is ultimately just childish in my view; it reeks of you not being able to use a product you'd like to use on the terms you desire, so instead, I'll just make a monopolistic legal threat and be done with it. I deeply want a greater proliferation of standards and interoperability, and I think that the computing industry is likely to, even if slowly, gravitate towards this as it makes logical sense. But legal threats and psuedo-ethical rationalising are not the way forward, and only serve to alienate the very people and companies who you want to get onside.

Option #2, contributing to Songbird, on the other hand, seems like a very wise move that could be beneficial for many people.

Reply Score: 1

Music store..
by kev009 on Sat 25th Jul 2009 00:37 UTC
kev009
Member since:
2006-11-30

Apple is stupid. They should be giddy that other devices wish to use their music app and capitalize on it. Digital music sales has no R&D and very little overhead.

Sorry.. I'd rather be in the dominant position of the fluff music market than highly competitive device sales.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Music store..
by mkone on Sat 25th Jul 2009 18:15 UTC in reply to "Music store.."
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

Good thing you are not running Apple then. Because they make money on iPods and next to none on music. Unless I have an underdeveloped sense for sarcasm.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Music store..
by skingers6894 on Sun 26th Jul 2009 02:20 UTC in reply to "Music store.."
skingers6894 Member since:
2005-08-10

Apparently Apple are more than comfortable the highly competitive device sales market.

At least this seems to be what the cash register receipts are telling them.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by D3M0N
by D3M0N on Sat 25th Jul 2009 01:09 UTC
D3M0N
Member since:
2005-07-09

I don't know what the laws say, nor do I are to look into them, but I've always had the opinion that companies such as Apple can do what they want with the software that *they* created. If they want OS X to run only on their hardware, then that is their decision. If they want iTunes to only interface with the iPod/iPhone, then so be it.

In this situation, why should Palm be allowed to "illegally" tie into iTunes, a piece of software which Apple has put countless resources into and numerous years developing? If I didn't like that, I'd use another multimedia software. If Palm really wants a media app like iTunes, they should invest their own (limited) resources developing one.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by D3M0N
by Eugenia on Sat 25th Jul 2009 01:38 UTC in reply to "Comment by D3M0N"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Hah!

Tell that to Microsoft who had to ENDURE all these years of court-dragging about IE! If Apple (which already has a monopoly with iPods/iTunes in the US btw) is to be allowed to do "whatever they please" with their products, then Microsoft should have NEVER be tried about IE neither in the US or in Europe.

But as you can see, people wouldn't let MS to do whatever it pleased. Why should we let Apple?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by D3M0N
by NathanHill on Sat 25th Jul 2009 03:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by D3M0N"
NathanHill Member since:
2006-10-06

Hah!

Tell that to Microsoft who had to ENDURE all these years of court-dragging about IE! If Apple (which already has a monopoly with iPods/iTunes in the US btw) is to be allowed to do "whatever they please" with their products, then Microsoft should have NEVER be tried about IE neither in the US or in Europe.

But as you can see, people wouldn't let MS to do whatever it pleased. Why should we let Apple?


I don't think Apple has a monopoly with iTunes/iPods. They have the largest marketshare, sure - but I haven't ready anywhere about iTunes preventing Amazon MP3 downloads (or other downloads) from working. Or Apple trying to push mp3 startups out of business. Or iTunes not allowing third parties to access and sync data from iTunes with a standard spec.

There is very little case for Apple being a monopoly. Are they a juggernaut in the online music download business? Are they the main player? Yes. Would we all like to see more variety and more competition? Sure. But Apple is hardly a monopoly.

One might make a case about music prices, since Apple smartly tried to standardize them around .99 a track. They might be throttling the marketplace in that way, but it's probably a good throttle cause I don't want to spend $20 for an album download like I used to spend on a CD.

I am glad that Apple/AT&T and other integrations/contracts will be explored, because I don't like it either. But you know, I will buy from any music download store that offers great selection, integrated access with iTunes, and good prices. Amazon has actually been edging out iTunes in some of those area lately. That's good, and I hope it keeps going. Amazon just needs to make its website better looking IMO.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by D3M0N
by renox on Sun 26th Jul 2009 09:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by D3M0N"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Your definition of a monopoly is incorrect by the same token one could argue that Microsoft has no monopoly because everyone can create an alternative OS.

In my view, Apple has a monopoly on song player device (iPod) and on song digital purchase (iTune), which is fine in itself but which create restriction on what they can do or not do: preventing other song player device to access iTune would be fine if they didn't have a monopole but as they one, it's illegal IMHO.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by D3M0N
by Kenfegore on Mon 27th Jul 2009 00:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by D3M0N"
Kenfegore Member since:
2009-07-20

I find it very worrying that people who write about these issues either never bother to read on the court action that was instigated against Microsoft nor actually inform themselves what anti-trust law is actually about.

Firstly some people think that Apple is a monopoly in certain markets, which is not at all the case. A monopoly only exists if there are no other sellers in a market and that is patently not true for Apple in either the phone, even smart phone sector, the mp3 player sector, or the computing sector.

So people say instead that Apple is dominant in the mp3 player sector. Then the misapprehension is made that market dominance alone would constitute a breach of anti-trust regulation. If you look at the guidance for example of the EU (http://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/art82/guidance_en.pdf) you will find that dominance itself is not at all regarded as a misdemeanour, in fact, market dominance that is based on innovation and quality is regarded as a boon for the market.

What you are not allowed to do is to abuse your power in the market. Apple surely allow competing software to use the iTunes xml files to supply sync services, playlist import etc. The iTunes shop is open to all customer who can then move their purchases to whatever device they wish to move it to.

What worries me most thou is that writers in the tech sector simply forget what the Microsoft court judgement was all about.
The findings of fact of the court, which were never overturned despite an appeal, were that "Microsoft had taken actions to crush threats to their monopoly, including Apple, Java, Netscape, Lotus Notes, Real Networks, Linux, and others." During the case it was revealed that "Microsoft had threatened PC manufacturers with revoking their license to distribute Windows if they removed the Internet Explorer icon from the initial desktop". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft)

Apple is allowing third parties access to iTunes, but it would be a travesty if competitors were allowed to leech by faking to be iPods. That in fact, would diminish innovation in the market because it would no longer be worth it to invest in R&D, all you needed to do was to produce fake product IDs.

Palm had enough time while they were dominating the smart phone and PDA markets to develop their own media integration. They chose not to do so and now they are trying to play the underdog card to get gullible blog writers on their side... and their own customers are suffering from it.

Reply Score: 0

Kenfegore Member since:
2009-07-20

The helpfiles at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1660
make it quite clear and easy to get access to the iTunes playlists, no licensing required:

-----begin quote http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1660 -----
Summary
The iTunes library is a database iTunes uses to organize your music. Two iTunes library files are created and maintained by iTunes for different purposes. They're both in the iTunes folder.
...
/Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library
/Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml

Microsoft Windows
\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl
\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music Library.xml
...

iTunes Music Library.xml

This file contains some (but not all) of the same information stored in the iTunes Library file. The purpose of the iTunes Music Library.xml file is to make your music and playlists available to other applications on your computer.

-----end of quote http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1660-----

Now, if you read this, and work for Palm, take this information to anyone in your company who has heard of xml and write your own sync application please, your shareholders and customers are waiting!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by D3M0N
by HappyGod on Sat 25th Jul 2009 01:58 UTC in reply to "Comment by D3M0N"
HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

I have to agree here. While Apple is not exactly playing nice by locking down their player, it's their decision.

You can't just leech off other people's hard work without their permission.

Anyhow, Palm has it all backwards. It's not like everyone used iTunes and loved it so much that they bought an apple device. They loved the device so much that they put up with iTunes.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by D3M0N
by AdamW on Sat 25th Jul 2009 20:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by D3M0N"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

"Anyhow, Palm has it all backwards. It's not like everyone used iTunes and loved it so much that they bought an apple device. They loved the device so much that they put up with iTunes."

Er...that's exactly the problem, and Palm doesn't have it backwards. Precisely because lots of people have iPods, they've already invested time and money getting a database of content in iTunes, and it's therefore a significant problem for the Pre if it can't sync with that. That would be a big reason for people to buy an iPhone instead of a Pre.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by D3M0N
by ricegf on Sat 25th Jul 2009 18:37 UTC in reply to "Comment by D3M0N"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

"I've always had the opinion that companies such as Apple can do what they want with the software that *they* created."

It's surprising to me how successful Disney and their ilk have been at convincing ordinary citizens that the expression of ideas - literature, computer codes, multimedia - is somehow naturally a "property" to be owned indefinitely and controlled exclusively by an "owner".

In the USA, however, this is a fairly recent (bad) idea. The constitution is explicit - society has chosen to strike a bargain with those authors who choose to accept it: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries". (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html, Section 8)

Note "limited Times". Note "to promote ... Progress". This was to be a TEMPORARY extension of PRIVILEGE (not a right), solely for the benefit of SOCIETY.

What privilege society grants, society can revoke.

Please reconsider your misconception that the expression of ideas can be owned by any one person or (God forbid) corporation.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by D3M0N - at least it's tech
by jabbotts on Sat 25th Jul 2009 21:35 UTC in reply to "Comment by D3M0N"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

At least the iPod/iTunes limitation is done through technological blocks. The block against osX running only on Apple hardware amounts to "uh.. please, just don't do it even though we know it works just fine."

I can support security imposed through mechanism. It's the security imposed by requests that holds less water. Security in this case being the mechanism that validates the client hardware (iPod) to the server deamon (iTunes).

I don't really think the limitation is right but at least it's not done with fluff EULA clauses. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by memson
by memson on Sat 25th Jul 2009 01:49 UTC
memson
Member since:
2006-01-01

People are shouting "Apple is evil" and "Apple monopoly", but Apple has no obligation to support the Palm device. Apple still makes a lot of money on iPhone and iPod sales - not everyone buys music from the iTMS. So, every Pre owner that uses iTunes to rip their music and put it on their Pre cost Apple money. Yes, those that use the iTMS make them money, but they'd need to buy an awful lot of music to cover the cost of R&D etc. This is without the bad karma of Palm stealing device id's and breaking the USB rules.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by memson
by OSGuy on Sat 25th Jul 2009 06:21 UTC in reply to "Comment by memson"
OSGuy Member since:
2006-01-01

I don't think this is about supporting third party devices. My understanding is that it is more related to deliberately disabling third party devices. It's like getting a Sony CD player for your car and it only allows you to play Sony CDs and nothing else despite the fact it is a common standard. Well in this case Palm did what they had to "Pretend to be an Apple device" and let's see what Apple will do now? Ban their own vendor ID? ;) Imagine the consequences for such an action. In the current situation, until Apple finds a better way of detecting an authentic Apple device, Palm Pre will just work.

Edited 2009-07-25 06:22 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by memson
by middleware on Mon 27th Jul 2009 13:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by memson"
middleware Member since:
2006-05-11

If you think this has nothing to do with "supporting third party device", you shouldn't feel uncomfortable when it is broken in a new version. When you say CD player is a standard, you must be aware iTune protocol is not. Don't say there is no cost to allow third party devices work via hacking. There is always cost. More than once, a product is hacked to work with a third party device. Then when the product is upgraded, all the third party devices are killed and customers just blame the vendor of the product. Because software is so complicated, Apple can not assure if an upgrade would break Palm's device so it is better to let Palm users know the danger to rely on such a fragile inter-work before they get use to it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by memson
by rdean400 on Sun 26th Jul 2009 15:44 UTC in reply to "Comment by memson"
rdean400 Member since:
2006-10-18

The Pre costing Apple money argument is a red herring. iTunes is a freely distributed, Mac/PC-based program and doesn't require a portable media player at all. I use it purely to listen to podcasts on my PC. By your argument, I'm costing Apple money. That's true, in a sense, but it's a cost Apple has implicitly agreed to foot by providing me with free access to their product.

Putting the shoe on the other foot regarding the Vendor Id field, the USB standard is about interoperability. If Apple has used the Vendor Id field to limit the interoperability of their software, they are abusing the spirit and the letter of the USB license just as much as Palm is.

In this battle, there is no morally or ethically superior position. Either Palm or Apple could have taken the high road, but neither chose to do so.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Volt
by Volt on Sat 25th Jul 2009 02:33 UTC
Volt
Member since:
2006-06-23

You know, iTunes serialises the library in both XML and binary formats. Instead of masquerading as an iPod, why doesn't Palm create their own syncing software that uses the XML library file? This is why the XML file exists in the first place.

Maybe a Pre user can say why it would be better to pretend to be an iPod. Surely it can't just be because they don't want to write their own software and instead decided to leech off of the iTunes/iPod integration.

Reply Score: 3

I don't get it.
by NathanHill on Sat 25th Jul 2009 03:40 UTC
NathanHill
Member since:
2006-10-06

I agree with the article - it is ethically silly for Palm to be doing this.

But I wish we would dispel the myth that iTunes is locked down. At what point is something locked down? iTunes is designed to sync with iPods - they maintain support and compatibility for that feature with iPods only. They don't have the manpower or desire to support other devices.

However, they allow an open pathway for other programs and devices to access the iTunes library information and use it for syncing or other support. Many other applications do, making iTunes accessible to many other computers, operating systems, and devices.

How is iTunes not open? How is it locked down?

I just don't get it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I don't get it.
by AdamW on Sat 25th Jul 2009 20:23 UTC in reply to "I don't get it."
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

"But I wish we would dispel the myth that iTunes is locked down. At what point is something locked down? iTunes is designed to sync with iPods - they maintain support and compatibility for that feature with iPods only. They don't have the manpower or desire to support other devices.

However, they allow an open pathway for other programs and devices to access the iTunes library information and use it for syncing or other support."

Er...they don't do anything close. They have intentionally introduced a patch to _stop_ the Pre from syncing with iTunes, by refusing to accept its USB ID. This is why Palm have been forced to use an Apple USB ID in the first place. It's not that Apple say "oh, well, we just don't support other devices syncing with iTunes, but if you can make it work, then fine!" - they intentionally ship updates for no purpose other than to _break_ other devices syncing with iTunes. (They also intentionally make it as difficult as possible for any software other than iTunes to work with iPods.)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: I don't get it.
by NathanHill on Sat 25th Jul 2009 20:49 UTC in reply to "RE: I don't get it."
NathanHill Member since:
2006-10-06

Yeah, you are 100% wrong. It's sad.

I still don't see it - iTunes works with iPods. They go hand in hand. iTunes allows for syncing with iPods, so naturally, the software looks for iPods to sync with. Anytime I plug in my iPod or someone else's iPod into my Mac, iTunes pops up. That's good functionality.

However, when I have used iTunes to put mp3 files on other devices, it has worked great too. I can use either one of the great third party apps out there, or just copy the files over my self.

I mean... seriously... when is a copy command such a valuable feature that can't be implemented by another program. Wow... such a barrier to entry!

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: I don't get it.
by sbergman27 on Sat 25th Jul 2009 21:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I don't get it."
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I still don't see it - iTunes works with iPods. They go hand in hand. iTunes allows for syncing with iPods, so naturally, the software looks for iPods to sync with.

And yet after years of iTunes and years of iPods... the Palm Pre blocking patch only gets put in shortly after the Pre is introduced. Eh, spin-doctor?

I don't have a Pre. I don't have an iPod. I don't have an Apple. And I don't care about iTunes. But it is quite clear what is going on here. The facts speak for themselves. And the spin about "naturally" looking for iPods doesn't change what those facts say. Why didn't it "naturally look for iPods" for all the years previous?

Reply Score: 4

IE is locked down
by AdamC on Sat 25th Jul 2009 04:19 UTC
AdamC
Member since:
2009-07-25

Correct me if I am wrong...

IE is integrated into windows and is part of the OS and can't be deleted.

What the Europeans are fighting for is IE should be optional.

To one of the comments - iTunes didn't pretend of be a MS product, it is just another third party software which can be loaded into windows and can be deleted if you don't want it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: IE is locked down
by Halo on Sat 25th Jul 2009 05:00 UTC in reply to "IE is locked down"
Halo Member since:
2009-02-10

The argument is that iTunes is bundled with the iPod.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: IE is locked down
by Hakime on Sat 25th Jul 2009 05:16 UTC in reply to "RE: IE is locked down"
Hakime Member since:
2005-11-16

"The argument is that iTunes is bundled with the iPod."

And what? Windows is bundled with pcs out there, Mac OS X is bundled with Macs.

Reply Score: 2

So everything is monopoly now!!
by Hakime on Sat 25th Jul 2009 04:58 UTC
Hakime
Member since:
2005-11-16

" Sue Apple on grounds of abusing monopoly"

I have to disagree with this. Nothing is forcing a vendor to operate its software with third party hardware. If that would be true, every non-supported platform by a given software is called monopoly. That makes little sense. AutoCad is rather a big player in the CAD market, should Apple sue AutoDesk because they don't suport the mac? I don't think so....

Since the IE case in Europe, i have the feeling that people talk about monopoly without really knowing what it is. The particular case of IE did not emerge because IE was successful by itself or that because Microsoft was a fair player in its success. The main reason why the IE case began is that Microsoft did everything so that other browser did not have a chance to compete against IE (particularly on windows) from tying it to Windows to diverging from web standards. This was anti-competitive practices and resulted in an unfair monopoly.

Now did Apple did that? I believe not at all. Apple came to the music market and got successful there without any anti competitive practises. And Apple does not anything to prevent anyone else to develop and promote alternatives solutions to iTunes, the iTunes data base is totally open, pure XML. Nothing on Mac OS X is preventing third parties to develop their own solutions. Nothing... I believe therefore that Apple has a natural monopoly owned by its success and efforts to sell products that people in a large numer have come to use.

Or even, haven't you ever wonder why the EU never asked Apple to remove Safari from a Mac OS X installation? Apple has basically a monopoly (when it comes to the number of users) of Safari on Mac, right?

Your point of not supporting third party hardware has nothing to do with monopoly, absolutely nothing. It is totally free for a vendor to choose to support third party platforms with its proprietary software, depending on the market that it pursues and the ressources that it has. Being in a monopoly or not. You seem to forget that even if Apple has supported a few third party MP3 players, this was originally very limited and it simply did not make sense for Apple to continue to do that. You can find the list here

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2172

Those players are dead and since then, what player Apple should have supported? Are you suggesting that Apple should have supported all microsoft backed players? Even if they could have, that would have turned into nightmare for them, even Microsoft does not want to do that anymore with the Zune software. Supporting a large set of third party players is not easy, particularly if they are intended to be used with different DRMs technology (at that time) among other issues.

You are saying that Apple stopped to support third party players when the iPod got successful, this is totally wrong, they stopped mostly because the iTunes Store came. Remember the major asking Apple that their music is only playable on iPods? Yes, they could have keep support for non-DRM music, but then not only it does makes the things more complicated for Apple, but Apple should have then supported players based on Microsoft PlayFoSure DRMs too? Makes little sense...

You can regret or blame that Apple does not support third party players, that's your point of view, but saying that they are abusing monopoly makes little sense, supporting third party devises is first a technical issue and i personally understand that a company does not want to deal with phone calls of third party MP3 players or phones users asking why it does not work. Supporting a ton of third party devises is for Apple shooting on itself, this is a jungle and Apple was right not to deal with that.

Palm is behaving incredible childish, it is like they are looking for direct confrontation with Apple. Using Apple's own USB vendor ID, this is crazy. And the same time they accuse Apple of improper use of the Vendor ID, how silly it is this?

I am sure that Palm has considered Songbird, but they don't believe in this. SongBird is too much of a iTunes ripp off that really does not make more than iTunes, and actually calling feature complete compared to iTunes is a big stretch. Most of users won't look at a software which just mimics the one that they already use. Palm does not believe eiher that they can develop themselves an alternative to iTunes for their Pre and hope in the same time that people will use it or that it will promote the Pre. Palm simply does not have the ressources to compete against iTunes, they are late in the game.

What remains? Well, stealing Apple's software because they know that with iTunes support they can sell more Pres to those people who wish to have musics with it. Without a good platform like iTunes, Palm can't sell the Pre as a media phone. Then again, no other choice than stealing software from others, it is understandable that Palm is coming to that, but it is non acceptable that they crossed the red line, because we are talking here about a big company which must respect some rules. If they did not have the strength to compete with the iPhone, then they should not have made the Pre, why now coming with such behavior and making so much troubles to the point that Apple will have to bring the lawyers to the story? They are making everything so that things gets nasty, i mean even a miserable company in China cloning someone else products does not do that...

Edited 2009-07-25 05:04 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: So everything is monopoly now!!
by David on Sat 25th Jul 2009 06:31 UTC in reply to "So everything is monopoly now!!"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

But there's a difference between supporting a third party player and simply not interfering with a third party player connecting. Neither Microsoft nor Dell will "support" the off-brand Chinese sound card you install on your computer, but they also won't forbid you from installing and using it as long as you can make it work. (and by support I mean if you call them and say your sound isn't working they'll tell you to take it up with the manufacturer of the sound card.

Apple would have no responsibility to support the Palm Pre. They could just say "go talk to Palm about it" and that would be standard industry procedure. They already do it every day for hundreds of Mac accessories and peripherals.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

It's clear that you do not know what a monopoly is. Like so many other people on the internet, you think someone only has a monopoly when he abuses it. This is not true.

A company has a monopoly when it has a large enough market share to be able to dictate the rest of the market. That's all there's to it. A monopoly isn't illegal. A monopoly isn't evil.

However, once you're in the monopoly position, you can't just do as you please. Now that iTunes/iPod has a monopoly, Apple can no longer act as if it's a minor player. They can no longer cripple competitors by willfully locking them out of iTunes. Those days are over.

Apple is abusing its monopoly position right now. This is wrong. This must stop. Just as we would scream bloody murder if Microsoft were to intentionally break Firefox or SAMBA every other week, we should scream bloody murder now too. But now that it's Apple, it's suddenly all okay?

If Apple continues this behaviour, they're going to be in trouble. The Bush administration was too busy being idiots to care about stuff like this, but with the new government in the US, as well as the economic crisis making people think very negatively of big corporations, Apple is in for a nice round of anti-trust lawsuits.

And let's not even begin about Europe.

Reply Score: 6

mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

Apple is abusing its monopoly position right now. This is wrong. This must stop. Just as we would scream bloody murder if Microsoft were to intentionally break Firefox or SAMBA every other week, we should scream bloody murder now too. But now that it's Apple, it's suddenly all okay?


So impart your infinite wisdom to us Thom and tell us how exactly they are abusing their monopoly at all, let alone in a way anything close to being Microsoftesque?

iTunes is open - stock standard XML that ANYONE can write an app to interface with. iTunes provides methods for manually exporting and importing content if the user so wishes, thus allowing for manual transfer to another device. iTunes isn't tied in any way to the OS, and can be installed and uninstalled at will. iTunes supports industry standard file formats for Music, Audio and Audiobooks. The iPod and iPhone can be used with third party apps, and iTunes doesn't break the Pre or any other device you connect to it - it simply doesn't support them, just like the Canon scanner software will only talk to a Canon scanner.

So all we have here is a company protecting their development investment in an application that they give away for free to manage their media devices and phones - oh and of course the Apple haters trying to make it something it isn't.

But Thom, if I hear you correctly you are saying that it is OK for a company to restrict what devices their software supports until those devices become successful - or a so-called monopoly - at which point they have to then support other devices. Is that what you're trying to tell us Thom? So who determines the magical point at which it is a monopoly?

Reply Score: 1

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

So impart your infinite wisdom to us Thom and tell us how exactly they are abusing their monopoly at all, let alone in a way anything close to being Microsoftesque?


They are knowingly and intentionally configuring their software to lock out a competitor's ability to interact with it optimally - for no other reason than to artificially bolster the appeal of their own competing hardware.

The Sherman Anti-trust Act Section 2 Part 2 forbids:

"The willful acquisition or maintenance of power as distinguished from growth or development as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen, or historic accident"

The point is if Apple is considered a monopoly (and I think they probably would be now), then they can't do stuff like this - its illegal. Locking out 3rd party hardware clearly does not make their product better - it serves no other purpose than to stifle a competitor.

iTunes is open - stock standard XML that ANYONE can write an app to interface with. iTunes provides methods for manually exporting and importing content if the user so wishes, thus allowing for manual transfer to another device. iTunes isn't tied in any way to the OS, and can be installed and uninstalled at will. iTunes supports industry standard file formats for Music, Audio and Audiobooks. The iPod and iPhone can be used with third party apps, and iTunes doesn't break the Pre or any other device you connect to it - it simply doesn't support them, just like the Canon scanner software will only talk to a Canon scanner.


Anyone can interface with iTunes - but not optimally. Apple does not disclose the mechanism their hardware uses to interface with iTunes - which is fine. Apple is not required to support the efforts of their competitors - no one says they should do that. But at the same time, they cannot legally implement measures that serve no other purpose than to block interoperability - not if they are a monopoly.

But Thom, if I hear you correctly you are saying that it is OK for a company to restrict what devices their software supports until those devices become successful - or a so-called monopoly - at which point they have to then support other devices. Is that what you're trying to tell us Thom? So who determines the magical point at which it is a monopoly?


When there are enough competing products/users of said products to point out abuse and raise some hell about it... When that reaches critical mass - the "magical" point is reached. That simple - there is no obvious line that gets crossed. The Federal government generally doesn't go after monopolies based on their observation of abuse - they go after them when there are enough (justified) complaints from competitors/consumers to warrant it.

All that said - iTunes sucks balls - Palm should just write their own sync app or use Songbird... ;)

Reply Score: 8

anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07


iTunes is open - stock standard XML that ANYONE can write an app to interface with.


I have seen this being mentioned in several comments now. But there is something I don't understand or might be misinterpreting, so maybe you can help clarifying it.

My understanding or intepretation of "write an app" is that there are facilities allowing 3rd party applications to access the data usually controlled through iTunes.

What I am not understanding is how this 3rd party software is being integrated into iTunes. Is this like an import/export plugin that gets activated in iTunes when a device of the 3rd party vendor attaches?

Or does it launch some service in the background and the users see their data being modified in iTunes?
It that's the case, how does iTunes display progress information, etc?

Well, there is one more possible interpretation that I can come up with, i.e. not using iTunes at all but a different GUI, but that would hardly count as syncing a device with iTunes, so it has to be one of the other two or an option I am currently not thinking about.

Reply Score: 2

Vide Member since:
2006-02-17

WIth this XML file you can only write third-party apps that make use of the iTunes library but NOT make iTunes the software itself work with your HW device, which it's what Palm and any other vendor SHOULD BE ABLE to do. Because iPod is one thing and iTunes is another, and this counts if you are the big player (just as in Microsoft's case).

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

A company has a monopoly when it has a large enough market share to be able to dictate the rest of the market. That's all there's to it. A monopoly isn't illegal. A monopoly isn't evil.


So far, you appear to be the first commenter in this thread who has actually passed a Macro Economics course.

Reply Score: 2

RE: So everything is monopoly now!!
by Snapper on Tue 28th Jul 2009 14:50 UTC in reply to "So everything is monopoly now!!"
Snapper Member since:
2005-11-16

Musics? The plural of music is... music.

Reply Score: 1

evangs
Member since:
2005-07-07

Both have tremendous market share, and are better than the competition. However, there's nothing stopping anyone from coming up with a better music store or search engine and stealing customers away from the current market leaders.

If someone came up with an online music store, sold DRM free music with a library comparable to iTunes, make it really integrated and work with any music player including iPods, back it up with a snazzy marketing campaign, can anybody honestly say that it will not succeed?

Palm should do just that if they were serious.

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

The difference is that Google doesn't deliberately go out of their way to break interoperability. If Google blacklisted all other search engines from their search results - or deliberately modified Chrome so that it wouldn't load E.g. yahoo.com - then that would be a valid comparison.

Reply Score: 4

AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

"If someone came up with an online music store, sold DRM free music with a library comparable to iTunes, make it really integrated and work with any music player including iPods"

That's the problem - Apple intentionally design the iPod to make it as difficult as possible for any software other than iTunes to work with it. They ship firmware updates with code specifically designed for no purpose other than to stop third party apps working with iPods. (Why do you think it's so much pain to get a recent gen iPod to sync with Linux?)

Reply Score: 4

iTunes is not...
by mrhasbean on Sat 25th Jul 2009 07:59 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

...locked down. I have written both Mac and Windows installer apps that allow audio and video downloads from another web site to directly import into iTunes. There was even a simple method of interfacing with a Notes feature on the classic iPods to create a custom interface for your content. Similarly there are numerous apps out there that interface with the iTunes library to allow purchases made on the ITMS to be used on other devices. There are also very simple manual methods for using iTunes content on other devices.

It is Apple's choice to only support the iPod / iPhone - and they have every right to do so. Why should they support other company's devices in an app that they give away? We also don't know what restrictions they have in their distribution agreements for ITMS content. And would this type of crud even be discussed if we were talking about the software distributed with another brand phone or MP3 player?

Reply Score: 0

RE: iTunes is not...
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 25th Jul 2009 08:06 UTC in reply to "iTunes is not..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

And would this type of crud even be discussed if we were talking about the software distributed with another brand phone or MP3 player?


This argument is just as flawed as the argument that the EU should also force Apple to remove Safari from Mac OS X.

Priceless hypocrisy.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: iTunes is not...
by mrhasbean on Sat 25th Jul 2009 08:37 UTC in reply to "RE: iTunes is not..."
mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

This argument is just as flawed as the argument that the EU should also force Apple to remove Safari from Mac OS X.

Priceless hypocrisy.


Sanctimoniousness exceeded only by arrogance...

Edited 2009-07-25 08:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: iTunes is not...
by JonathanBThompson on Sat 25th Jul 2009 12:23 UTC in reply to "RE: iTunes is not..."
JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

Your arrogance is only beaten by your ignorance and outright self-righteous stupidity, Thom: beyond the fact that the iTunes store is meant to support the sale of iPods and iPhones and not really meant to make much of a profit, because Apple is in general a hardware company, just because Apple no longer sells new DRM'ed tracks, does not mean at all that they aren't still legally obligated to honoring their previous made contracts with the companies that provided the music for the store. Are you going to argue that Apple must, because now they have a huge portion of the downloadable music market, violate all their contracts, and also spend money to support their competitors at an equal level of functionality as their own devices, for which the software was designed and implemented to work optimally for Apple-designed devices, and yet, Apple provides a clear and documented, supported way for third parties to use a large part of the functionality for synching with other devices? Sure, that way doesn't give 100% optimal third party seamless operation for all their devices, but why should Apple be required at all to provide that? Just because now people whine they're a monopoly, despite the fact that Apple does not at all do anti-competitive things to keep others from making and selling competitive products?? And you persist in maintaining that Palm is acting correctly by violating the terms of their contracts by spoofing vendor IDs? I realize there's a problem with your ability to comprehend that there's a valid reason that the USB standard maintainers would insist on such a clause, that they not lie about which vendor ID they are: it would never occur to your limited comprehension, clearly, that allowing that makes it far easier for IP infringement of one type or another, such as creating unlicensed knock-offs of someone's products, thereby causing the maker of the real, authorized device problems.

It's one thing to claim that your device, by the device ID, implements a particular software interface, which then leaves it up to the third party to ensure that it is: it's entirely another thing to do what Palm has done, which is fraud and forgery in the name of interoperability at the expense of Apple, by claiming to be a product manufactured by Apple when queried, regardless of what the outside label says. There's a reason that car parts licensed by GM as being official are advertised as being "genuine GM parts" because it means you know what you're going to get: while other parts made by third parties may work, they may not be made to the same standards, and if someone is mislead into thinking they're officially recognized by GM as being authorized as being the same quality or better, then they'll quite possibly assign blame where it isn't due, smearing GM's image, and possibly coming back on GM for when using some unauthorized part may cause further damage, which may happen under warranty: using unauthorized parts for repairs has a whole slew of problems.

What if Apple decides they've found a superior way to update their iPods, or a faster way to do the actual synching of music/data stored by users to their iPods/iPhones? What, do they have to get permission of all the third parties to modify their own system for Mac/PC-side software (iTunes) and their iPod/iPhone firmware, keep them in the loop, and wait for them to catch up and change their stuff? How is that remotely just? Why would it make sense for any other device maker to pretend to be something they're not, with the possibility that as a result, their device might be rendered inoperable due to either an advance in the system meant to make the real products that it is pretending to be more efficient/have more capabilities or just to a stupid bug somehow between a new version of iTunes and the third party device? From that point alone, Palm is being incredibly stupid, as you are, in thinking Apple should allow this, and that Apple should support this, but since you've never written software for a living, and never will, and you just love to find the biggest pile of sh!t and jump up and down in it to generate headlines and page views, everyone can count on you not to investigate and comprehend and report what all the possible ramifications are, as you don't come close to observing journalistic integrity, nor business/legal/technical common sense integrity by spewing forth all this crappy reasoning. When you've had many years actually developing and testing hardware/software/firmware, maybe you'll understand enough to realize how things really are, but I don't expect that will cause you to agree that others shouldn't bend over and kiss your butt to do your bidding.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: iTunes is not...
by galvanash on Sat 25th Jul 2009 17:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: iTunes is not..."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Are you going to argue that Apple must, because now they have a huge portion of the downloadable music market, violate all their contracts, and also spend money to support their competitors at an equal level of functionality as their own devices


A lot of people have posted similar lines of reason on this thread - they are ALL bunk... No one, repeat NO ONE, is saying that Apple should support interoperability. The issue is that Apple is intentionally blocking interoperability.

A competitor has (legally) reverse engineered a method of interoperability, and Apple has changed their software in order to block that competitor. The change has no other purpose - it does not improve their product in any way. IF Apple is a monopoly - that is an abuse of monopoly position.

Sure, that way doesn't give 100% optimal third party seamless operation for all their devices, but why should Apple be required at all to provide that?


Again, just to stress the point - Apple is NOT required to provide that - what they are required to do is not abuse their monopoly power to block competition.

I realize there's a problem with your ability to comprehend that there's a valid reason that the USB standard maintainers would insist on such a clause, that they not lie about which vendor ID they are: it would never occur to your limited comprehension, clearly, that allowing that makes it far easier for IP infringement of one type or another, such as creating unlicensed knock-offs of someone's products, thereby causing the maker of the real, authorized device problems.


These are completely separate issues. Palm falsifying their vendor ID is clearly a violation of USB compliance - I don't think anyone is arguing that it isn't. But that issue is between Palm and the ISB-IF, not Apple - Apple has nothing to do with it.

Arguing that Apple's actions are "good" simply because you interpret Palm's actions as "bad" is silly. The two things are not even related.

it's entirely another thing to do what Palm has done, which is fraud and forgery in the name of interoperability at the expense of Apple, by claiming to be a product manufactured by Apple when queried, regardless of what the outside label says.


That may be true. I would say it is a LONG stretch, but it is arguably possible that this could be considered a forgery case... But again that doesn't in any way redeem Apple's behavior - and Palm's argument will of course be that they would not have to "forge" anything if Apple had not blocked interoperability with their product.

There's a reason that car parts licensed by GM as being official are advertised as being "genuine GM parts" because it means you know what you're going to get: while other parts made by third parties may work, they may not be made to the same standards, and if someone is mislead into thinking they're officially recognized by GM as being authorized as being the same quality or better, then they'll quite possibly assign blame where it isn't due, smearing GM's image, and possibly coming back on GM for when using some unauthorized part may cause further damage, which may happen under warranty: using unauthorized parts for repairs has a whole slew of problems.


And yet there is a THRIVING market for 3rd party parts for GM products. GM dealers will generally use on GM parts - which is their prerogative. But if you put a non-GM part into a GM product guess what - it has absolutely no effect on warranty coverage unless GM can demonstrate that the part contributed to the damage being repaired under warranty... Obviously the part itself is not warrantied by GM, but its use does NOT affect the warranty of the vehicle itself.

The same basic reasoning applies to Apple. Unless it can be demonstrated that Palm's device causes issues with iTunes Apple has no grounds to argue on.

Btw, Apple is perfectly within their rights to add a clause to their iTunes software license (if they dont already have one like this) stating that they offer no support for syncing with non-Apple hardware. To stress the point again, Apple is NOT required to support their competitors.

What if Apple decides they've found a superior way to update their iPods, or a faster way to do the actual synching of music/data stored by users to their iPods/iPhones? What, do they have to get permission of all the third parties to modify their own system for Mac/PC-side software (iTunes) and their iPod/iPhone firmware, keep them in the loop, and wait for them to catch up and change their stuff?


Not at all. That would arguably be considered a product improvement - nothing at all wrong with them doing that. At that point it would be Palm's responsibility to maintain interoperability if they so chose to - and Apple does not have to support their efforts in any way.

Making a change that is NOT a product improvement which has no other purpose than to block interoperability is the problem...

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: iTunes is not...
by echo.ranger on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: iTunes is not..."
echo.ranger Member since:
2007-01-17

"Are you going to argue that Apple must, because now they have a huge portion of the downloadable music market, violate all their contracts, and also spend money to support their competitors at an equal level of functionality as their own devices


A lot of people have posted similar lines of reason on this thread - they are ALL bunk... No one, repeat NO ONE, is saying that Apple should support interoperability. The issue is that Apple is intentionally blocking interoperability.
"

Maybe I'm missing something (or am just ignorant), but with the fact that Apple provides the iTunes library in xml format on the machine where its installed would seem to nullify that argument. Apple HAS provided the data from iTunes in a way that allows interoperability, they don't need to make iTunes directly support or interface with other devices. If Palm wrote their own sync app that utilized the xml data from iTunes this would be a non-issue as I understand it (but I probably don't since I don't follow Palm circles very closely since the original Palm left US Robotics' hands).

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Reply Score: 1

RE: iTunes is not...
by sbergman27 on Sat 25th Jul 2009 15:50 UTC in reply to "iTunes is not..."
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

...and they have every right to do so.

Just a general observation. Whenever these kinds of topic are discussed, there is always someone who wants to go on about how this 'incorporated' entity has this or that right or rights. Now while the whole idea of creating a fictional person (incorporation) to allow entrepreneurs to limit their financial liability might (or might not) be beneficial to society... I really don't see how it is beneficial to give these fictional 'people' rights which trump the goal of promoting the general welfare, as the U.S. Constitution's preamble puts it. Why should the rights of this fake person, created ostensibly to save some entrepreneur's financial ass if his business goes south, trump the goal of ensuring that consumers, otherwise known as "The People" (and real people, at that) enjoy the benefits of a healthy market, exhibiting healthy competition. Apple, Inc. isn't a person. Apple, Inc is a fictional character created on a piece of paper.

Please try to maintain reasonable perspective when talking about how its "rights" fit into the greater picture.

Edited 2009-07-25 16:07 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Monopoly?
by teab on Sat 25th Jul 2009 14:35 UTC
teab
Member since:
2009-07-25

The author of the article misunderstands what monopoly means. He conflates monopoly with being a major success. A monopoly is when a company controls a particular market. Apple does not control the digital music market. They are merely successful in it.

Microsoft was/is a monopoly on the internet browser for Windows because it did not allow other browsers within its OS to really be used successfully.

On Macs, you can clearly use other music players and other music browsing devices to browse other music stores (e.g., Amazon's own music store).

iTunes itself is proprietary software with its own music store. It does mean it should allow other programmes or non-Apple devices to use it.

Get your conceptions about what monopoly means. These days, a lot of techies equate monopoly with the idea of being a major success in a market. Given that, then maybe one of the large American car companies like GM (or formerly) was a monopoly because it was the largest car company and it also wouldn't allow Porsche engines to be installed in their car bodies. (Yeah exactly. What???)

Reply Score: 0

RE: Monopoly?
by sbergman27 on Sat 25th Jul 2009 16:04 UTC in reply to "Monopoly?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

The author of the article misunderstands what monopoly means. He conflates monopoly with being a major success.

If that major success creates a substantial barrier to entry for other potential players, as iTunes arguably does, then it is a monopoly. And using that monopoly to leverage another of their products is quite clearly a fundamental violation of anti-trust laws.

Somehow, some people seem to operate under the misconception that to be a monopoly you've got to have 100% of the market, and own all the pipes that deliver the gas, or all the wires that deliver the electricity. It's all about barriers to entry, no matter what form those barriers might take.

Edited 2009-07-25 16:04 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Monopoly?
by mkone on Sun 26th Jul 2009 14:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Monopoly?"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

"The author of the article misunderstands what monopoly means. He conflates monopoly with being a major success.

If that major success creates a substantial barrier to entry for other potential players, as iTunes arguably does, then it is a monopoly. And using that monopoly to leverage another of their products is quite clearly a fundamental violation of anti-trust laws.

Somehow, some people seem to operate under the misconception that to be a monopoly you've got to have 100% of the market, and own all the pipes that deliver the gas, or all the wires that deliver the electricity. It's all about barriers to entry, no matter what form those barriers might take.
"

You seem to be making things up as you go along. Apple does a few things. It makes the world's best smartphones and mp3 players. It is the most successful by a country mile. People do not buy iPods and iPhones because they need something they can use with iTunes. That is a very tenuous argument. Yes, iTunes did, and probably still does enhance the appeal of iPods and iPhones. But if Apple is being anti-competitive, it's because their products are far and away better than the opposition. And they have spent a lot of money creating the ecosystem to make their products successful. What now, force them to sell competitorss products in their stores?

Secondly, Apple provides DRM free music, and, as has been pointed out, provides an xml file which third parties can use to find out what is in Apple's iTunes database. If Palm wasn't so lazy, they would have spent some of the money they used in developing the Pre to develop a nice way to sync music and anything else with their phone. These half measures are why every iPod killer fails, and it's not because Apple is being anti-competitive. It's because they actually think everything through.

Not all barriers to entry are bad. I think laziness is a legitimate barrier to entry.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Monopoly?
by sbergman27 on Sun 26th Jul 2009 15:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Monopoly?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

You seem to be making things up as you go along.

Specify. You make this assertion and then utterly fail to support it in the text which follows.

Not all barriers to entry are bad. I think laziness is a legitimate barrier to entry.

You're confused. Here's how it works. Barriers to entry are not intrinsically good or bad. As you note, providing a good product or service can be viewed as a barrier to entry. However, once you control a certain portion of the market, and it can be shown that barriers to entry exist in that market because of you, then you can and should be declared a monopoly. Now, monopolies, like barriers to entry, are not intrinsically good or bad in and of themselves. (Though I would venture to assert that it is not a good sign regarding the condition of free competition in that market.) However, with great power comes some added responsibilities and restrictions, because you, as a monopolist, can exert forces on the market which are qualitatively different than what would be exerted if a non-monopoly-holding player acted in exactly the same way. The monopolist may not like the extra restrictions. And naive observers may fail to grasp the qualitative nature of the difference between a monopoly and nonmonopoly player doing exactly the same thing in the same market.

But the prime mover is, and should be, the welfare of The People, in this case called the consumers. And that pretty much requires the legal mechanisms which we have in place to ensure that monopolists are constrained to act with the welfare of competition in their market in mind.

And I might note that your post seems to make up a few things that I supposedly "said" as it goes along. ;-) Or perhaps you simply misunderstood what I was saying. Hopefully this post clarifies things.

Edited 2009-07-26 16:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Monopoly?
by galvanash on Sun 26th Jul 2009 21:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Monopoly?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I would mod your post up, but I already commented on this thread. Well said.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Monopoly?
by galvanash on Sat 25th Jul 2009 18:38 UTC in reply to "Monopoly?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

The author of the article misunderstands what monopoly means. He conflates monopoly with being a major success. A monopoly is when a company controls a particular market. Apple does not control the digital music market. They are merely successful in it.


That is entirely subjective, as is the definitive point at which a company would be considered a monopoly. The textbook definition is (from wikipedia):

"In economics, a monopoly (from Greek monos , alone or single + polein , to sell) exists when a specific individual or an enterprise has sufficient control over a particular product or service to determine significantly the terms on which other individuals shall have access to it."

The argument could be made that Apple has an effective monopoly over digital music distribution. I don't know the current numbers, but in 2006 iTunes sold 88% of all legally distributed digital music - and they are currently the number one distributor of music, including physical media - beating out the previous number one Walmart in April of this year. Imo, they have had a VERY effective monopoly for over 3 years now.

Microsoft was/is a monopoly on the internet browser for Windows because it did not allow other browsers within its OS to really be used successfully.


No. That is an example of abuse of monopoly position, not an example of being a monopoly. Microsoft was/is a monopoly purely on the grounds that they held better than 90% of the OS market for consumer PCs.

On Macs, you can clearly use other music players and other music browsing devices to browse other music stores (e.g., Amazon's own music store).


So what? What does that have to do with Apple's monopoly over music distribution? Apples computer business is an unrelated enterprise.

iTunes itself is proprietary software with its own music store. It does mean it should allow other programmes or non-Apple devices to use it.


No, they don't have to allow it - but them actively disallowing it is the issue...

Get your conceptions about what monopoly means. These days, a lot of techies equate monopoly with the idea of being a major success in a market.


If major success means holding nearly 90% of a market then YES, that is a monopoly. It may be a legal one, but it is a monopoly non-the-less.

Reply Score: 4

Clever move by Palm
by StephenBeDoper on Sat 25th Jul 2009 15:08 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

I think this is a clever marketing (meta-marketing?) by Palm - either outcome works in their favour. If Apple caves and lets them sync the Pre with iTunes, that lowers the barrier for existing iPhone users to switch to a Pre, it gives Palm seamless interoperability with the client software for the most popular online music store, etc.

On the other hand, if Apple goes out of their way to prevent the Pre from syncing via iTunes, then that makes Apple look the bad guy - while making Palm look like the underdog.

Reply Score: 2

I have a Pre, and this is what I think
by mbpark on Sat 25th Jul 2009 17:37 UTC
mbpark
Member since:
2005-11-17

I can think of one other instance where this has happened before.

Think of the case of MAC addresses and home routing devices. The first three bytes of the MAC address identify the vendor.

However, routers from almost every major manufacturer, including Cisco/Linksys, D-Link, Apple, and Belkin, allow you to clone the MAC address of your PC so that you can get around an archaic limitation the American cable companies (especially Comcast and @Home) used to place on you so that you could not connect more than 1 PC to their network. Companies like Comcast and @Home even supplied their own NIC cards, one of which I have (an SMC 10/100, hey it was free).

Essentially, this means that an Apple, Cisco/Linksys, D-Link, or Belkin router would be impersonating an Intel, Broadcom, SMC, or Realtek NIC to the cable companies.

Apple does this themselves with their routers by letting you specify a MAC address.

Does this mean that every device shipped by these vendors is in violation of IEEE vendor assignments? Other than some rumblings from Comcast years ago, this has never been big news.

Apple allows you to spoof MAC addresses with their routers, which violates the vendor ID assignment from IEEE for their devices. How is a USB device ID different than a MAC address? Are they not both assigned from standards/working groups?

If Apple's going to be pissy about this, they might as well just take that functionality out of their Airport routers so they don't look like hypocrites when they yell about Palm doing the same thing that they do themselves.

Reply Score: 3

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Think of the case of MAC addresses and home routing devices. The first three bytes of the MAC address identify the vendor.

[snip]

Does this mean that every device shipped by these vendors is in violation of IEEE vendor assignments? Other than some rumblings from Comcast years ago, this has never been big news.


To be fair, there is a big difference. The vendors of equipment that allows MAC address spoofing simply give the user the ability to override the MAC address... They don't provide a competitors MAC address hardcoded into their equipment.

It is the user, not the vendor, that is changing the MAC address - and since the user isn't the one who registered for a MAC address they have violated no agreements.

That said, you bring up a good point. If Palm were to provide a mechanism on the Pre to input a "Custom USB ID" then they could in effect sidestep the whole USB licensing issue. Their users would need to acquire and input Apple's USB ID - but Palm would be off the hook and could continue promoting their device as USB compliant.

Reply Score: 2

mbpark Member since:
2005-11-17

The point I was trying to make isn't that Palm ships their competition's USB ID, it's that Apple ships a device that gives the option to override the MAC address, and so do a lot of other companies.

I agree that Palm shipping a device with an Apple vendor ID is not a good thing, and is definitely not legal. However, this is a case where most end users don't even know what the heck a MAC address is, or even care.

On a Linksys router, the users know if they push the "Clone MAC" button that their Comcast works. There were and are actually a whole ton of other agreements that the users violated, and still are in violation of if you read the fine print of the Comcast and Verizon user agreements if you use a wireless router, but that's a different story about how some people and companies take things to extremes.

If you want a perfect example of that, look at the British TV licensing.

You can't have it both ways, and if it ever came to the courts, IMHO that would be the first thing the lawyers bring up.

If I were Palm, I would do the same thing. I'd make a little WebOS applet that changes the USB device ID to whatever vendor I chose. Problem solved.

It won't stop Apple from possibly suing them, but Palm and Apple apparently have a ton of mutually licensed patents, much like AMD and Intel do, that could cause a Mutually Assured Destruction scenario. Palm has been down this road before (See Graffiti). Don't think that just because Ed Colligan is gone that they won't be again.

Reply Score: 2

time frame
by AdamW on Sat 25th Jul 2009 20:20 UTC
AdamW
Member since:
2005-07-06

"Sue Apple on grounds of abusing monopoly. Just like we spent 4 years watching Microsoft and its IE getting dragged to the court about being anti-competitive, that's what should happen to Apple too"

Well, yes. That's sort of the problem. It takes four years. Palm is not operating on that kind of time scale. It doesn't have the luxury to, at present.

Reply Score: 2

Think "Different"
by BallmerKnowsBest on Sat 25th Jul 2009 22:17 UTC
BallmerKnowsBest
Member since:
2008-06-02

People used to say that, if Apple had anything near Microsoft's market dominance, then they would be just as bad in terms of anti-competitive behavior. Turns out that Apple is worse that Microsoft ever was - without having anywhere near the same level of market dominance.

Lately Apple has been taking plenty of pages from the playbook of the old Microsoft. Remember when Microsoft prevented Windows 3.1 from running on DR DOS? What Apple has done here is no different. Well, except that Microsoft only did that in a pre-release version and removed the limitation from the final release.

Maybe Apple's new motto should be "iTunes ain't done till Pre sync won't run!"

Reply Score: 4

iTunes sucks. Songbird sucks.
by saucerful on Sat 25th Jul 2009 22:36 UTC
saucerful
Member since:
2008-06-12

iTunes sucks for a variety of reasons. It is closed source, slow, bloated, and the navigation paradigm makes absolutely no sense unless either you listen to music like a 15 year old girl (changing tracks every minute to keep the dance party going), or (certainly not mutually exclusive) your library consists of mostly single tracks as opposed to full albums. Songbird (admittedly I haven't tried it in about 6 months-- correct me if things have changed) suffers from the same problems, except at least its open.

I was satisfied with Amarok 1.4 for a long time until version 2 came out and the bloat prompted me to look for something else. Of course, I could have kept using the old version, but I quickly found Quod Libet which, in album view (http://img132.yfrog.com/img132/1773/screenshotmwp.png) is the best player I've ever used. Also the plugin framework is awesome and its the first open source app on my desktop I've ever actually modified, despite years of programming background.

Edited 2009-07-25 22:38 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: iTunes sucks. Songbird sucks.
by Johann Chua on Mon 27th Jul 2009 10:52 UTC in reply to "iTunes sucks. Songbird sucks."
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

On Linux I prefer Banshee or Rhythmbox. IIRC, iTunes copied the browser view from them. Don't have my own iPod yet. Might just get an old iPod mini and upgrade the HDD to an SSD; the nano is too small, and the Classic is too big for me.

Reply Score: 2

Ethics Smetchics...
by juvenile4909 on Sat 25th Jul 2009 23:23 UTC
juvenile4909
Member since:
2007-08-04

Funny how when something like this takes place against a company with a fanbase such as the fruit company in this case, all their fan boys come in here on their mighty horses and scream ethics. Like you haven't done something unethical via use of technology.

Don't judge, and dont point the finger.Give your opinion, reserve your judgment for pillow talk with ur spouse.

*gets back to Popcorn*

Announcer: Palm just made a move...the fruit company is on the clock. Let's see what they do?

Reply Score: 1

Palm being a serious company....
by alcibiades on Sun 26th Jul 2009 02:53 UTC
alcibiades
Member since:
2005-10-12

Palm being a serious company, you can be sure that they took this step in a calculated and serious way.

On the face of it, Eugenia is right, you should not use another vendor's id. But they know that, of course. They are deliberately making a point. The point is something like this.

We all subscribe to a standard, they are saying. The objective of this standard is open connectivity. Now, one of us is using his unique ID to prevent this, to lock his device to his software in some important aspects of functionality.

Fine, we are saying. If that's how you want to play the game, we will use your unique ID. If you don't like it, why don't you sue us? Lets get this thing out in the open, and lets see whether the USB consortium thinks this is what unique IDs were intended for. And lets see whether the public, when it has it explained to it what is going on, thinks this. And lets have you explain why this is so much better for the iTunes users than being able to connect as they choose to whatever they choose with full functionality.

Apple does not realize that it is, with this and other similar stuff, playing a very dangerous game. It is being egged on by its cheerleaders, who also do not realize how dangerous this is. The danger is not so much that the legal position will not be validated by a court. The danger is that they will win in court of law but lose in court of public opinion. Once public opinion shifts, Apple will no longer be cool to the general public. That is what they have to lose, and they are getting closer to losing it with every one of these episodes.

Reply Score: 2

Screw Songbird
by tyrione on Sun 26th Jul 2009 03:41 UTC
tyrione
Member since:
2005-11-21

Go write a clone using WebKit.

Reply Score: 1

There is Already a Viable Path for Palm
by brichpmr on Sun 26th Jul 2009 13:36 UTC
brichpmr
Member since:
2006-04-22

Palm should simply look at what RIM has supplied for Blackberry users to sync with iTunes, and then create and supply their own sync app. All of this monopoly discussion (trying to compare Apple with a convicted Predatory Monopolist....Microsoft) is simply mis-guided, and seemingly fueled by those who dislike Apple or dislike the entire concept of intellectual property. Apple informed the world at the time of the Palm Pre launch that updates to iTunes would likely stop Palm's ability to sync.

Palm looks incompetent with the hack path they have taken so far.

Reply Score: 1

Pandora´s Box
by acobar on Sun 26th Jul 2009 18:20 UTC
acobar
Member since:
2005-11-15

This technique is more widely used than most of people here think.
* Routers clone MAC from NICs to allow them to circunvect old policies of ISP providers restrictions;
* OS emulators and console emulators DO the same - provide lots of "false" answers to programs to clone the environment they emulate (os signatures and etc);
* Also present on remote controls;
* More examples... I´m sure they exist.

Don´t think Apple will have a case to go for on court or, what would be worst, it could trigger a larger battle about what steps should not be allowed on reverse engineering.

Reply Score: 2

Why Apple doesn't allow Pre to sync
by pkockritz on Mon 27th Jul 2009 03:26 UTC
pkockritz
Member since:
2009-07-27

I think many posters here are missing something when they say that Apple has to let the Pre sync with iTunes.

What if the Pre is only 99% (or 95% or less) compliant with the iTunes sync protocol? Apple certainly isn't going to test and certify the Pre is 100% compatible. What if Palm didn't correctly implement something and a Pre user tries to sync and it bricks his Pre? Who's fault is that; Apple? Palm?.

Of course the answer is Palm, but who is going to get the bad publicity for that, and class action lawsuits, etc? No doubt the conspiracy theorists would claim Apple did it on purpose.

If Apple has an error in the iPod implementation that causes an iPod to be bricked, that's obviously something Apple would have to fix. But if they brick an Pre...

And that is why (possibly among other reasons) Apple doesn't want to allow other devices to sync using iTunes. If Palm wants to utilize the iTunes library they can, but they'll have to write their own app to do it.

Edited 2009-07-27 03:28 UTC

Reply Score: 1

two sides
by brown_rm on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:45 UTC
brown_rm
Member since:
2006-02-23

The entire iTunes music store is an exercise in monopoly abuse. Would the iTunes music store have been popular if the iPod wasn't the dominant player when it was created? Would the iPod/iPhone be so dominant without the iTunes music store exclusivity? Apple leveraged their dominant position in the music player market to become the dominant music store. Then, Apple used their dominant music store to further block competitors from the music player market (enforced by fairplay copy protection). Now, they are using the music store to further expand into cellphones and PDAs.

The obvious solution is that the iTunes media store should be separated from Apple and be available to other players through openly licensed interfaces (not necessarily through iTunes software). However, it remains to be seen whether the US gov't will enforce antitrust laws again.

Now, with that said, this back-and-forth blocking/unblocking doesn't work well for Palm customers. Palm should have known that Apple would block them and had a backup option available from the start (probably using the supported XML files for syncing).

Reply Score: 1