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?
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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 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by D3M0N
by NathanHill on Sat 25th Jul 2009 03:58 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by D3M0N
by Kenfegore on Mon 27th Jul 2009 00:02 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 Parent Score: 0

RE: Comment by D3M0N
by HappyGod on Sat 25th Jul 2009 01:58 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by D3M0N
by AdamW on Sat 25th Jul 2009 20:21 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 Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by D3M0N
by ricegf on Sat 25th Jul 2009 18:37 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 Parent Score: 4

RE: Comment by D3M0N - at least it's tech
by jabbotts on Sat 25th Jul 2009 21:35 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 Parent Score: 2