Palm Pre and iTunes: Cat & Mouse Game Hits the Big Time | webOS Nation
 
 

Palm Pre and iTunes: Cat & Mouse Game Hits the Big Time 43

by Annie Latham Thu, 06 Aug 2009 11:26 am EDT

If Palm's main goal in playing Cat and Mouse with Apple and iTunes Sync is media attention, as Derek posited during the PalmCast, then they're achieving their goal.  None other than the Grey Lady, the New York times, is taking note in a story titled "Rivalry Between Apple and Palm Intensifies." Writer Jenna Wortham rehashes a story that PreCentral.net readers know well, from the fact that iTunes and the Pre now play together to Palm's complaint to the USB-IF.

More reactions after the break!

Wortham did manage to secure a few more statements on the issue form Palm, though none of them are going to shock you. Douglas B. Luftman, an associate general counsel for Palm, defended Palm's approach of masquerading as an iPod saying it was acceptable because it is in response to Apple’s restriction.

“We think we are consistent with our compliance. We’re not trying to appear to be anything we’re not — except for interoperability purposes with iTunes.”

Michael Gartenberg, vice president for strategy and analysis at Interpret, a market research firm based in Los Angeles and New York, did the best job of summing up why Apple would be so steamed: “Apple understands that seamless relationship between the iPod, the iPhone and iTunes. It’s a big driver behind why consumers are buying their devices, and they’re going to try and protect that.”

And Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia who specializes in telecommunications law, copyright and international trade, commented:

“There’s something very unseemly about what Apple is doing... It’s very counter to the ideals of openness, which is a concept Apple pioneered in computing.”

On the other hand, in a story appearing in The San Francisco Chronicle,
Robert Lande, co-founder of the American Antitrust Institute and a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law noted challenges Palm and others face in establishing that Apple is behaving in a monopolistic manner:

  1. Identify a market in which Apple has a monopoly. While it has more than 70 percent of the MP3 player market, you could argue that music-playing cell phones also compete in the same space, which would dilute Apple's dominance.
  2. Show that Apple has monopoly power by indicating where there are significant barriers to entry for competing companies.
  3. Prove that Apple engaged in anti-competitive behavior - actions that were designed for no real benefit other than to hurt a competitor.

Lande said that's difficult to prove and that the courts have generally given companies a lot of leeway in defining any moves as beneficial in some dimension.

With Apple's deep pockets, if this cat and mouse game keeps going and going (like the Energizer bunny), it is pretty clear who will win in the end. Hopefully, Apple will see that enabling Palm's customers to purchase music through iTunes is a good thing as noted by J. Gerry Purdy, the chief analyst of mobile and wireless at the research firm Frost & Sullivan:

"This would offer an opportunity for increased revenue for Apple."

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43 Comments

GO PALM!!!

Everyone know that Jeery always kicks the crap outta Tom in the cartoons, hopefully this turns on the same way. Can't stand Apple anyways, and all those pro IPhone (I'm better then the rest) people who think their phone rocks above the Pre....NOT!!!!

GO PALM!!!

Now all Palm needs is a DONATE HERE --> button on their site to support the cause (I'd donate a few bucks to help as would most people here), as Apple has way more funds to drag this out...unfortunately, so hopefully it will get settled fast.

You are what you blame the pro-iPhone users of being. You are a pro-pre user.

Donate here. LMFAO! Yeah, Palm *would* need that considering Apple could buy and sell them all day long.

-If you are so anti-Apple, then why do you want the Pre to sync with iTunes?
-if you are so pro-pre, why don't you want the Pre to sync with Zune Desktop?
-If desktop sync is so important to you, why did you buy a Palm Pre?
-and finally, why is the Palm cart in front of the horse where the Pre is concerned? Palm should have had hardware and supporting software available at launch. This thing is exactly as I feared, it was rushed to market.

I am one that is glad that I opted for the iPhone over the Pre. Both had equal chance with me when I switched from Verizon. I did my research and made the decision that was right for me. It turns out I was right.

The phone and the webOS explains his choice. Nothing about sync softwares I believe.

I personlly don't care about Itunes Sync, And Im wondering why ppl bother too much about it when are plenty of solutions.

The phone and the webOS explains his choice. Nothing about sync softwares I believe.

I personlly don't care about Itunes Sync, And Im wondering why ppl bother too much about it when are plenty of solutions.

GO PALM!!!

Rip off Apple and rape iTunes to your own advantage!

The Pre is so much better than the iPhone, yet Palm tells iTunes thru USB that it's an iPod device made by Apple! Guess Palm's too stupid to write their own music sync application. Way to go! Palm, you're all class...

Maybe we iPhone people can work with Apple and find a way to get access to your App Store, and maybe can we also take advantage of using your over-the-air Palm Profile to save our informations and settings as well? Oh, and how about a way for us to use the touchstone?

After all, since Apple is sharing their years of work on iTunes with you Pre owners, we should be getting something too.

"years of work on iTunes?"

It's based on a public domain utility Apple bought in 2001. Its "sync" is an open-source protocol Apple borrowed. And the "AAC" format is just MPEG4 audio.

More like Apple is borrowing the work of others...

The open source community on OS X and iPhone OS and iTunes...

Palm when they copied the Treo to make the original iPhone...

Xerox when they borrowed the GUI concept from their labs...

And on and on and on.

At lease palm the mouse

the whole thing is kinda dumb. (imho)
anything short of a court order, Palm will always sync with iTunes. and i doubt apple will ever get a court to issue such an order.

but if for some reason, Palm is ordered to stop, its a simply matter of installing some little piece of software to do it. Ie, Blackberry w/ media sync...

To me I would think that Apple would like that the pre can sync with iTunes. This ultimately brings in more revenue for them. Apple is trying to "flex its muscles", and it is going to bite them in the a** if they are not careful. This is why I hate apple!

This comes back to the same thing I have always said that once the pre is launched in europe if apple continues to play this game then palm can always bring this up to the EU Antitruct court and they will basically put apple in its place. Just thike they did with Microsoft and IE.

What would that mean, Apple would have to carry a version of itunes that allows the pre, or suffer hefty fines and penalties.

I doubt that palm would be as prevelant here in the states.

Yah but the EU shouldn't have an opinion in the matter as the US is not in the EU...if Europe wants Windows on a PC with all funcationality then they should have to except IE. MS was not forcing people to use it, they do allow Firefox and Opera (yuck and yuck) to be installed.

This is totally different...Apple won't let the Pre install itself basically in ITunes...so for this case maybe the EU will do some good...as far as MS and IE...EU should have kept their mouth shut...IMHO

For one i just want to say firefox is one of the best browsers out there if not the best what crack are you smokin man?

Uh, you are correct that the US is not in Europe, but the EU does have the authority to regulate how businesses operate within their borders. If MS or anyone else wishes to make money there, they're going to have to comply with their laws.

Dude..why bother with apple...why give them more $$$...lets develop our own...w/ amazon music.....give it a rest..

I agree, but palm will get more business if the itool users can just switch and easily start to use the itunes setup.

I personally use amazon music only, itunes and quicktime will never get installed on my W7 machines.

I'd rather be called an "iTool" any day than carry a tiny phone with memory that needs "male enhancement" that's all advertised by a pastey-faced, washed out garden gnome. That disturbing woman represents all that is "pre": generic, disturbed and misunderstood. This ad campaign is one of the worst I've ever seen.

To beat Apple, Pre will have to be better than iPhone. It simply isn't -- not yet. It's up to Palm to make it so. Their decisions so far don't bode well for Pre (Pre isn't at parity with iPhone in memory, supporting developers nor software).

They should have come out of the gate with more memory and desktop sync solution that they developed.

Palm must work to be better than Apple in all aspects. If you only duplicate efforts (or rather, leech off the efforts of others) instead of trying to be better, there will never be anything better than iTunes/iPod/iPhone. If you can't resource this type of effort, then stay on the porch until you can or you have backers.

I think you're correct that they should've come out of the gate with more memory. That's the one area I see where the Pre didn't meet or exceed the iPhone 3G. (To Apple's credit, the 3Gs does have a few features that are arguably better than the Pre (e.g., a much more useful cut and paste, and the whole voice control thing).

Having said that, I don't think the Pre necessarily has to beat the iPhone outright to be a serious contender in the market. The Pre already beats the iPhone in terms of total cost long-term, and Palm has the advantage of being able to learn from Apple's mistakes in regards to the app store. (I fully expect a much more open experience from the App Catalog than what people are getting from the App Store, once the catalog is thrown open.)

I also think Palm has been more supportive of the development community than you give them credit for. Sure, there was the conflict with the PreDevCamp community, and the SDK should've come out before the phone, rather than after, but how much more mod-friendly could they have possibly made the phone? Even without the SDK, people were banging away with it, with the code that the Palm developers put in there themselves.

Overall, I think Palm has learned from some of Apple's missteps with the iPhone, in terms of developers. The App Catalog is scheduled to be open much more quickly than the App Store was open on the iPhone. (IIRC, it took a year for Apple to open the App Store, didn't it?)

I don't have any illusions that Palm is going to destroy Apple in the smartphone business. I don't think that's realistic, if only because the financial disparity between them is too great. What I think the Pre does is put Palm back in the position of being a serious competitor, rather than just an aging pioneer with a 5 year old OS. And I think that's the important thing.

"If you only duplicate efforts (or rather, leech off the efforts of others) instead of trying to be better, there will never be anything better"

Oh, you mean:

1) Stealing the idea of apps on phones from Palm's Treo six years after Palm introduced it and calling it your own invention?

2) Stealing the idea of web browsing on phones years after Palm introduced it and saying you invented it?

3) Stealing the idea of e-mail on phones years after Palm and RIM introduced it and saying you invented it?

4) Building a phone and computer OS on BSD freeware, and then branding it and claiming you made it yourself?

5) Taking MPEG4, changing the extension to AAC, and claiming it's your own audio format?

6) Using standard USB data transfer on a public domain application you branded "iTunes" and claiming you invented it?

7) Stealing Xerox's GUI innovation and building a computer around it that you claim you invented yourself?

Shall I continue?

I think Palm doesn't want to rely on Apple, but one of the things Palm wanted to do with WebOS is have no software to install on your PC or mac. By not having software, it guarantee's itself compatibility on Windows, OSX and Linux and becomes truly cross-platform.

iTunes was important to sync with because it is used in so many markets and almost exclusively on Macs. While there are other options, and side programs that will make things work. The majority of people aren't going to go find a solution, they just want plug at play.

Once Palm establishes a large market share with WebOS, you may start seeing palm desktop applications pop-up again. I think palm is playing this right. The are making noise and people are paying attention.

Incidentally, it has also caused me to switch back to Winamp, which has grown so much since I left it back in 2003.

Apple cannot play the wounded underdog anymore. It's Palms turn and they got a REALLY good legal team to back it up too.

As much fun as this can be, I'd rather see Palm focus their money/efforts behind their own sync solution or stand behind one of the existing solutions already available (preferred).

This is a smart move by Palm. A "puny" company that competes with giant Apple. This headline would be more valuable and effective than a creepy girl commercial.

But the issue here is a matter of public opinion and not facts. Both sides with try and twist their stories to seem like they are doing a good deed. Palm is disguising the Pre to act as an iPod to sync with iTunes. They are doing the very same thing in which they made a complaint against Apple for violating. License a third-party plug-in and sync with iTunes the right way, not the shady way.

The point is that no device should have to disguise itself as anything to sync with the largest media file retailer in the world. They control to much of the market to allow them to continue using their market share to sell their devices.

If this continues, the consumers will have to rely on Apple for any intonations in the area of media devices. This allows them to roll out new products and features as slowly as they wish. Do you really want to be sitting there in 2020 using the same phone and media device you used in 2008?

If there is such thing as a mindshare monopoly, then Apple most definately has it. And that is where significant barriers for the competition arrise.

To the average consumer, which is all anyone is ever talking about, the mentality right now is that if you buy an iPod you get your music. All of it. Automatically. You get the music you already own by converting with iTunes, iTunes also also allows you to purchase new music AND you also get other benefits like video and podcasts. All of that is now encapsulated into a single concept: iPod. Insert any other device and the entire concept shatters:

Do all devices come with their own syncing software? If that is true, then does that syncing software also convert their already owned music? And if that is also true, then does that software also enable you to purchase new music? And if that is also true, are there also other benefits like video and podcasts?

None of that exists with any other device/software combination. None. Part of this is clever strategizing that Apple is rightfully applauded for. The bad part is that it has come to hurt the consumer and the market.

What's funny is Apple wholly fabricated the issue completely by itself. Take away any part of the equation and all issues vanish. iTunes without the iPod isn't a threat to any consumer or corporation. The opposite is equally true. But together, to the average consumer, they have a monopoly of mindshare.

This is GREAT for Palm. Lots of publicity for Palm and the Pre, being compared to Apple and iPhone. Palm will either need to win this battle or make iTunes moot before consumers get upset with Palm, but so far the consumers seem to be managing. This is a huge short-term benefit to Palm.

Ok .. you make claims here . please substantiate! What is the measurable "huge short-term benefit to Palm" .. Remember ... "MEASURABLE"

This could also be good for Apple. Someone would most likely think, "Someone else thinks iTunes is the end-all for media management, Apple and iTunes must be excellent!"

Or

"Maybe I shouldn't buy the Pre. Palm didn't even bother to provide media sync software for their users"

Or

"Why does Palm think it should sync using Apple's software?"

This could also be good for Apple. Someone would most likely think, "Someone else thinks iTunes is the end-all for media management, Apple and iTunes must be excellent!"

The problem that Apple seems to be having with this is that iTunes doesn't really make them money directly. It only makes them money if people buy iPods or iPhones. Someone using iTunes from another platform (e.g., Pre, or a Blackberry) doesn't really benefit Apple.

"Maybe I shouldn't buy the Pre. Palm didn't even bother to provide media sync software for their users"

Anyone who thinks this probably isn't intelligent enough to operate either a Pre or an iPhone. The most rudimentary research on the Pre would verify that Palm has included at least 3 other ways of getting media on a user's phone:

1) Music Assistant
2) Media Sync (with a non-iTunes platform)
3) USB mass storage drag and drop

Anyone who would hear about this controversy would also hear about these other methods, because Palm mentions them every time they're asked about it.

As to your request for measurable numbers: The number of iTunes users measures somewhere in the 9-digit range. That's a significant incentive for Palm to create a solution for them, don't you think?

I don't own any products from either company, (used to own a treo 650), but I'm for Palm on this one because it gives more choice to the customers.
You would think Apple would be happy someone wanted to link to their store. I'm surprised people still buy music and such.

How about a WebOS MPP?

My Palm Player.

:-)

And Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia who specializes in telecommunications law, copyright and international trade, commented:

I think he maybe talking about how Apple markets itself to the general public. Like the publicity stunt Job's letter to the Record Companies.

Palm just opened the flood gates!!! Making Apple look like the big bad wolf!! Here's another reason:

INQ unveils new 3G phones that sync with Twitter and iTunes

Apple gonna be in the news every week for blocking something new every week.

http://www.mobile-ent.biz/news/33930/INQ-unveils-two-iTunes-syncing-Twit...

Although, this may be more of how it's advertised than how it actually syncs. I think, it says the INQ phones will use doubleTwist.

Lets put emotions aside. The facts are this. Apple owns the iTunes Store. When you open an account, you agree to their rules which include the devices and manner of playing your licensed music. Remember you do not own the music. If you do not like this, do not use it. Here is a lousy solution, go by a cheap iPod and play music from it. I know that most do not like or want this solution, but until Apple grants Palm a license that Palm must purchase, this battle will continue. I think that Palm has a weak case. Its like saying I want my Pre to work on AT&T, no way not compatible. Then saying alright on Verizon. No, the deal is you want a Pre now, it is on Sprint. Same with iTunes, few people realized the problems with music and other media that would happen when many of these laws were made in the 80's and 90's. There are other music providers out their, maybe not as good or have as much music, but they are there. I am sure that someone will come up with a work around in the end..

Lets put emotions aside. The facts are this. Microsoft owns the Windows OS. When you install Windows, you agree to their rules which include the computers and manner of using your licensed software. Remember you do not own the software. If you do not like this, do not use it. Here is a lousy solution, go by a cheap PC and use software on it. I know that most do not like or want this solution, but until Microsoft grants Apple a license that Apple must purchase, this battle will continue. I think that Apple has a weak case. Its like saying I want my PC to work on OS X, no way not compatible. Then saying alright on Atari. No, the deal is you want a PC now, it is on Windows. Same with Macintosh, few people realized the problems with software and other media that would happen when many of these laws were made in the 80's and 90's. There are other computer providers out their, maybe not as good or have as much music, but they are there. I am sure that someone will come up with a work around in the end. But until then, Microsoft networking software will continue to block Macs from networking and iPods from syncing because it's Microsoft's OS and Apple is trying to steal their hard work.

I think this is funny some one need to take a bite out of apple... what is it with these company's that have to be so power hungry why not work with the people...

No Shirt No Shoes No Service

Apple owns a store. Is it an ordinary store like a Target or a K-Mart where anyone can drop by and make a few purchases? No, it's more like a COSTCO or a Sam's Club where the controlling company requires membership enrollment prior to participation in perks offered by the store. In this case that would mean access to a vast content catalog and the inherent convenience of the i-Tunes store design.

Does the Apple I-Tunes store offer anything that is not availabe anywhere eles? Some will argue it does which if true lends credibility to the "i-Tunes is a monopoly" argument. Some will argue that the i-Tunes product is not particularly unique in its scope (the amount of content available) or its delivery (its device-centric synching). This would suggest that actual competition exists with i-Tunes.

My observation is that there is a difference between the COSTCO membership model and the i-Tunes membership model. COSTCO and other purchasing clubs only require enrollment in order to benefit from their bulk purchasing schemes. Apple, on the other hand, requires an actual purchase of its own products in order to use its store. In other words, Apple not only requires a shirt and shoes to enter the store; it requires that you buy the shirt and shoes from Apple which, in turn, can only be worn in Apple's store. So, now you can see a plausible argument for labling Apple's behavior as monopolistic, controlling and anti-competitive.

-wdn

"...openness, which is a concept Apple pioneered in computing.

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Margaret

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This is ridiculous. Isn't their a legal way to get the pre to sync with itunes like the blackberry does? If so why doesn't palm go about it that way? I know this is a palm forum so the bias here is thick, but c'mon folks palm are allowing the pre to show up as an iPod within itunes. How in the world is that even remotely legal? Why not try syncing with the zune desktop or some of the other apps out there? Where's the fuss because the pre won't sync with the other programs out there that exist? Just posting to say this is retarded, and don't see how palm would have any case at all against apple.

wow...you nerds have way to much time on your hands...both pre and apple users...

just enjoy your respective phones and what they can do.

The Pre came with a standalone sync option. It's called "COPY and PASTE" from the computer onto the phone, into a little folder named Music. The music app takes it from there. Am I the only one with an organized music collection, that doesn't need iTunes to tidy it up and put a bow on it? Honestly, I was a little disappointed when I plugged my Pre in the first time, and iTunes opened up. It's nice to have the option, but I already have 2 iPods, thanks. If I feel the need to *sync* my music MediaMonkey works great.

As far as the politics... Apple. You're Popular. Why make enemies now? learn to live with your success... Palm. You're better than that, but thanks for actually thinking about the People, the plug and play experience.