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USB-IF Slaps Palm In iTunes Spat

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the gimme-some-skin dept.

Handhelds 600

An anonymous reader writes "The USB Implementers Forum has finally responded to Palm's complaints that Apple is violating its USB-IF Membership Agreement by preventing the Pre from syncing with iTunes. It's found in favor of Apple. Worse, it's accused Palm itself of violating the Membership Agreement by using Apple's Vendor ID number to disguise the Pre as an Apple device."

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hrmmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29513853)

hrmmmm

apple - the most anti-open company (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29513897)

Apple is bad as MS ever was - only difference is that MS was huge and Apple is only a small segment.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (-1, Troll)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#29514019)

Apple is bad as MS ever was - only difference is that MS was huge and Apple is only a small segment.

No no no no, MS is not even a fragment of what the the third reich of Apple is in that sense. MS hate in all honor, but Apple, there is no comparison to what extent they will go to fuck their customers over.

Apple: you want this shiny little music player? Huh? You want it? Huh? Well then you have to change everything you own to Apples version, don't take your eyes off the shiny music player! Look at it, look at it! No? NO!? NO APPLE FOR YOU!

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (4, Insightful)

MouseR (3264) | about 5 years ago | (#29514125)

That's completely retarded. DRM is out of the picture on iTunes store and if you insist on purchasing there, nothing keeps you from syncing your music library to whatever device you have.

There was no requirement for Palm to highjack Apple's ID just so that they can benefit from cheap engineering. RIM made the right decision and that is to not rely on software they dont control for their syncing.

What Palm did is sell a device to their customers and provided no guarantee as to the usability of the product, because they hack another company's software solution.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (2, Interesting)

Entrope (68843) | about 5 years ago | (#29514169)

Palm was rather sleazy in trying to hijack Apple's software to do things that Apple doesn't want to support. On the other hand, I more than halfway expect Palm to now file an anti-trust complaint against Apple for abusive vertical integration on the basis that Apple has a practical monopoly in some of the areas here. It would be a somewhat weak claim -- there are other digital music stores, and other ways to synchronize music between devices, but Apple has a pretty commanding share of those markets plus the digital music player market. iTunes's nature as a loss leader seems like it could cut either for or against Apple.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (3, Insightful)

MouseR (3264) | about 5 years ago | (#29514241)

I doubt Palm can do squat on this issue. They violated their USB license by using another vendor ID.

They might actually have to pay a penalty on that.

And because they went beyond their USB manufacturer agreement, they don't have a case in court.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (1, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29514387)

If I were a judge I would dismiss the Palm disguising itself as an iPod as a reasonable engineering solution caused by an UNreasonable company using monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior. I would then require Apple to open its Istore and Itunes software to any and all MP3 or MP4 devices, or else face massive fines under U.S. law.

Also to consider the USB-IF as the ultimate arbiters of all legal questions is a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under an oligarchy. The members of the USB-IF are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. (paraphrased from Jefferson) Their opinion is only that - their opinion - and not the final word on the matter.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | about 5 years ago | (#29514431)

However, the contracts that their members are signatory to are still binding.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#29514493)

I agree - the usual point is that the rules are different for Microsoft because they're a monopoly, but in the market of portable music players, Apple are a monopoly. And how is Itunes not using their monopoly in one market, to try to influence another?

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | about 5 years ago | (#29514269)

iTunes's nature as a loss leader seems like it could cut either for or against Apple.'

Apple has said that iTunes "breaks even".

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (2, Interesting)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#29514215)

That's completely retarded. DRM is out of the picture on iTunes store and if you insist on purchasing there, nothing keeps you from syncing your music library to whatever device you have.

There was no requirement for Palm to highjack Apple's ID just so that they can benefit from cheap engineering. RIM made the right decision and that is to not rely on software they dont control for their syncing.

What Palm did is sell a device to their customers and provided no guarantee as to the usability of the product, because they hack another company's software solution.

Don't kid yourself, Apples intentions have never been to share anything with anyone. The way it is now is because people objected to the insane enviroment that Apple tried to push. Tell me how the user benefits from being forced to use iTunes with iPod for example? Isn't it merely just another way to screw the consumer over by exposing him to only one store, thus killing competition without providing anything better? I'm speaking from my own experiences, and I used to own an iPod mini, back in the days. There is nothing I regret more to have purchased in my entire life, and after having iTunes "synchronizing" my device (aka wiping it if it's plugged to another PC) numerous times I had enough. Instead I bought a sony player that acts as a removable disc. Sure, it's Apples every right to bundle the players with iTunes and it's my every right to tell people how it causes nothing but trouble. If iTunes was superior I would have chosen it. But yes, Palm was in it for a free ride and they had no right to do so, but that doesn't make Apple less consumer unfriendly.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514449)

The way it is now is because people objected to the insane enviroment that Apple tried to push.

Company responds to market forces. News at 11.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514491)

Slashdot user utterly misses the point. News at 11.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (4, Informative)

itsdapead (734413) | about 5 years ago | (#29514585)

Apple: you want this shiny little music player? Huh? You want it? Huh? Well then you have to change everything you own to Apples version

Reality check:

  • The only "lock in" with iPod/iTunes is if you choose to buy DRMd content from the iTunes store.
  • iTunes/iPod works fine with MP3 and unprotected AAC files from any source (video files, too) - legal or otherwise. It will rip your CDs to MP3 if you don't like AAC. The only things you have to get from the iTunes store are firmware updates and iPhone Apps.
  • iTunes stores all its music files as regular disk files. It will sort them into artist/album folders and number the files for you, if you choose. Copying files to a vanilla MP3 player that works like a USB drive is a cinch.
  • Although the main iTunes metadata file is a proprietary binary, iTunes maintains a mirror of all the metadata you are likely to need, including your playlists, as an XML file with a fairly obvious structure. Its easy to write scripts to parse this and sync playlists, generate m3u files etc. 3rd Party Applications like Missing Sync will let you choose iTunes playlists and sync them to your phone. Games such as Oolite will look for specific iTunes playlists and use them for in-game music.
  • Buy MP3s from Amazon and their download app happily stuffs them into your iTunes libfrary for you.
  • OS X has a "Sync Services" framework, with a published API, to let third parties sync contact and calendar data with their devices.
  • No, Linux isn't supported - pity but join the queue. Guess what: my HTC Hero Android phone doesn't fully support Mac* or Linux either.

All Apple is refusing to do for Palm is let them integrate Pre into the main iTunes application. That would require Apple to publish and maintain a plug-in API for iTunes which would cost Apple money. Why should they?

Well, maybe someday a court will decide that Apple have a dominant position in the media player market, and further deiced that the "openness" described above is not sufficient to satisfy anti-trust laws. Then, and only then, will Apple be obliged to help others compete with their products.

Also bear in mind that what anti-trust regulators are really concerned about is using a dominant position in one market to strong arm your way into another. Apple has built the iPod/iTunes/iTMS tripod up from scratch, popularising the pocket MP3 player and virtually inventing the legal music download market, not by leveraging an existing monopoly. The only aspect that's even worth debating in that context is whether they're using iPod/iTunes/iTMS to strongarm their way in to the Phone market. Looks to me like the main reason for the iPhone's success is that previous smartphones (esp. WM) were pants - and if you think their harming the market ask yourself what the Palm Pre, Android or the various 3rd party WM skins would have looked like - or whether they would exist - without the iPhone shaking things up.

(*I should qualify that: HTC provide a calendar/contacts sync application for windows only - same story with firmware updates. Android is fairly hardware-agnostic, provided you're happy to use Google for calendar/contacts).

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (-1)

digitalunity (19107) | about 5 years ago | (#29514035)

Not for media players. Apple is the Microsoft of MP3 players.

Apple should really back off here or they may find anti-trust actions in their future. Emulating another device to provide compatibility is perfectly acceptable, even under the DMCA. Since most ITMS music isn't encrypted anymore(or so I've heard), the DMCA's anti-circumvention may not apply even if Apple could prove the Pre is enabling users to commit copyright violations.

In short, Apple is wrong here but they started down the path and I see no culture around Apple that would let them admit the mistake and back down now.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514265)

Apple is the Microsoft of MP3 players.

Not even close. You can step entirely outside the Apple ipod/iTunes ecosystem and still get a full range of music. If you step outside the MS ecosystem there are significant programs (games and important business software) you cannot run and significant pieces of hardware you cannot use or cannot use fully.

Or (now the DRM is gone) you even buy any tracks from the iTunes store and import them into another music manager which fully supports your not-Apple AAC music player.

In other words, the consumer makes potential sacrifices to stay away from MS, but suffers no pain staying away from Apple.

But then I expect you know all this being a probable MS shill (I apologize if you are not, in that case you're just an idiot).

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#29514343)

If you step outside the MS ecosystem there are significant programs (games and important business software) you cannot run

Step outside of Microsoft and lose games? I don't understand. There are plenty of games for PlayStation 2, PLAYSTATION 3, and Wii.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (3, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 5 years ago | (#29514287)

Why bring the DMCA into this? Apple hasn't sued Palm, nor have they brought in the law in any way. This is purely a technical fight between the two.

The Pre is lying and Apple is calling Palm on it. I fail to see how Apple is wrong.

And just because someone says MP3 or music and you hear "Apple" doesn't mean that Apple has any kind of (legally defined) monopoly.

In short, you're an idiot.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (4, Insightful)

gabebear (251933) | about 5 years ago | (#29514395)

Amazingly, this isn't about DRM or the DMCA.

Emulating another device to provide compatibility is perfectly acceptable

Except when you have signed a contract saying you wouldn't. The problem is that Palm decided to use Apple's USB Vendor-ID to identify the Palm-Pre, which is something Palm promised not to do in their contract with the USB-IF (Who hands out USB Vendor IDs). Palm violated existing contracts while attempting to emulate Apple's devices and Apple called them on it.

I don't think there is any reasonable argument for forcing Apple to let the Palm-Pre use their software.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (5, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 5 years ago | (#29514171)

WebKit, Grand Central, Darwin Streaming Server, LaunchD (some Linux please pick this up...), Bonjour (Yes ZeroConf, but I think they're the first to make it popular), Even XQuartz so that OSS stuff that uses X11 can run under OS X looking like OS X. They even have a cute little website with the word 'forge' in it: http://macosforge.org/ [macosforge.org]

  Hell they even have Darwin, the base of OS X. Lets see Microsoft release an OSS version of XP minus some GUI bits.

Yes, Apple is protective of quite a bit of stuff. But they're released a ton more OSS that I've found than MS.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (0)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#29514381)

Even XQuartz so that OSS stuff that uses X11 can run under OS X looking like OS X.

Does this include moving menu bars from inside the window to the top of the screen? GIMP sure doesn't. Or is that just a failing of the current GTK+ port?

Lets see Microsoft release an OSS version of XP minus some GUI bits.

Does Windows Academic Program [microsoft.com] come anywhere close to counting?

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514621)

They also own CUPS, which is probably one of the largest contributions next to WebKit.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (4, Informative)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#29514285)

Difference number 2: MS was hated by many geeks, and by geek sites such as Slashdot, or at least criticised for these actions. Apple on the other hand are loved, even by geeks, with these actions twisted around to be good things, and with sites given no end of free advertising and hype ("You can read this webpage On Your Iphone" as we once had, or witness yesterday's non-story of "Someone releases a second application for the Iphone"...)

If Apple actually did become big - e.g., the hype around the Iphone becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and in 10 years time, mobile computer is dominated by a monopoly that completely locks down the platform, locks out competitors, and where Apple need to give permission for you to run a 3rd party application on the mobile computer you've bought - will this attitude changed?

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (2, Interesting)

Engeekneer (1564917) | about 5 years ago | (#29514527)

Difference number 2: MS was hated by many geeks, and by geek sites such as Slashdot, or at least criticised for these actions. Apple on the other hand are loved, even by geeks, with these actions twisted around to be good things, and with sites given no end of free advertising and hype ("You can read this webpage On Your Iphone" as we once had, or witness yesterday's non-story of "Someone releases a second application for the Iphone"...)

I disagree a bit here. Among a good subset of geeks Apple is hated too. I am definately one of them, and wouldn't touch an Apple product to save my life. The difference is, Apple beats MS in user interface design and implementation, which is why it's probably hyped and loved by many. This of course doesn't change their horrible lock-in policies, and extreme secrecy, instead of openness, if they have a chance. So I dislike the company, and won't buy their products, even if the products themselves might be nice

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (2, Insightful)

rwwyatt (963545) | about 5 years ago | (#29514347)

Apple uses lube where MS doesn't.

Re:apple - the most anti-open company (0, Offtopic)

Engeekneer (1564917) | about 5 years ago | (#29514485)

Lube is for pussies

Talk about a pathetic article (5, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 5 years ago | (#29513901)

Seriously can we keep business politics out of this? You may not like Apple but a lot of people from day one called into question Palms legality on their faking out iTunes from this very reason all the way down to the very fact that nothing said Palm even had to use iTunes as they could have used a third party player, a plugin for iTunes like Blackberry and WinMobile users use without any complaints from Apple, or made their own software . Just because you dont like the outcome does it in any way mean that the outcome wasn't the right one.

Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29513955)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

If we're looking at comparitive sins from one (least) to ten (most), Palm did a 1. Apple did a 6.

Re:Legality? (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 5 years ago | (#29514099)

For a sins what Palm did was 7 and what Apple did was a 4.

If you hacked you Palm to do what Palm did then that would be a sin of 1. But the fact that the company created such actions intentionally against Apples will (3) marketed it (4) to the general public.

If you did it with your own Palm then it is only a 1, perhaps a 3 if you made it public. As you have already purchased the product and what you are doing is actually a favor to Apple as you buying their songs and using their product...
However by the corporation doing the same thing, they are hurting apple as they are making a product that is directly competing with their product, and not working with your competitor for compatibility.

Why is it worse for a company to do something then it is for an individual?
Well first it is scale, The individual usually has limited influence as they don't have the resources to make a large influence, at best the hack would give you some geek credits and only the brave geeks who could afford to brick their phone to do it.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (4, Insightful)

MaggieL (10193) | about 5 years ago | (#29514065)

Apple is using capabilities of the USB spec to disable interoperation with other manufacturers' equipment for what is clearly purely anticompetitive reasons. Don't you think it's a little late to "keep business politics out of this"?

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (4, Insightful)

cabjf (710106) | about 5 years ago | (#29514127)

It seems more like they look at what is plugged in and see if it's an iPod or not. iTunes knows how to handle an iPod, what features it has, and how to organize the music on it. iTunes does not know how to handle other hardware. That's where the plug-ins come in. If anyone just pretended that their hardware was an iPod, who do you think people would complain to when it didn't work right? I bet Apple would get a decent sized share of the complaints even though the problem is someone spoofing the iPod hardware without having the exact same features.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514581)

How long have you worked for Apple?

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514183)

They create an give iTunes out for free. Therefore, they have the right, to disallow/allow any connections to the software they created. Why do they give iTunes away. Two reasons. 1 ) make money off of the iTunes Store and 2 ) Encourage people to use their hardware. Apple makes most of their money not in music sales but in hardware sales. It is not anticompetitive to put your resources behind a product and give it away for free and it is not anticompetitive to have their be advantages when using that FREE software with their hardware. Blackberry is coming out with a mac desktop syncing client. Will it be anticompetitive if their software doesnt work with the pre too. The very idea of palm identifying itself as an apple device is wrong, anyone who bought a pre knowing that palm does these kinds of things, condones it and is just as much at fault. Dont complain when you hardware doesnt work with someone elses software, blame the hardware manufacturer for not putting up the resources to create a decent compatibility solution.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (5, Informative)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about 5 years ago | (#29514185)

I don't think either party was the hero in this battle, but Palm deserved what it got.

Apple provides legitimate methods to connect a device to iTunes via a public API and/or Toolkit. This lets them support things easier by making sure the public API works after changes.

I see it as less "anti-competitive business practice" and "we want to stop the ball rolling on companies tricking iTunes so support doesn't become a problem."

Look at it this hypothetical scenario which is NOT the case here but goes to the overall problem.

- Lets say ALL of the device companies out there decided to skip the API and do what Palm did: trick it.

- Apple legitimately wants to change something on their end with the way iTunes interfaces with iPod/iPhone.
Do something neat / tricky to add a feature or improve performance that they KNOW works on the iPod/iPhone.

- But now they have to worry about breaking every other device out there because the hardware and capabilities are different.

- So now you have to wonder "is this REALLY an iPhone?"

* If only there was some way to know for sure which device this was?

* Oh wait! THAT's what Vendor ID is for.

------------------

This is the sole point of the public API and/or Toolkit. You state funcX() returns Y. Maybe one day you want to add funcZ() or replace funcX() with funcX21() . Maybe you eventually upgrade the API / Toolkit so the client code needs to be changed but it's on the other companies to stay current, not you supporting other companies' devices.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (1, Interesting)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 5 years ago | (#29514305)

Apple legitimately wants to change something on their end

Maybe that's the real issue. Apple changes their stuff far too often, and in far too fundamental ways.

With Windows, I can try to figure out how to connect the machine to an LDAP server (for example), write a cheat sheet about it, and come back 3 years later on a new Windows machine, and my cheat sheet still applies.

With Apple, stuff changes in a fundamental way not only between major versions (Tiger and Leopard) but also within the various releases of Leopard. What should be a simple routine operation (adding a new Mac to our network) becomes each time a whole new reverse-engineering project, because Apple can't keep their interfaces and GUIs stable.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (4, Insightful)

xouumalperxe (815707) | about 5 years ago | (#29514607)

Maybe that's the real issue. Apple changes their stuff far too often, and in far too fundamental ways.

With Windows, I can try to figure out how to connect the machine to an LDAP server (for example), write a cheat sheet about it, and come back 3 years later on a new Windows machine, and my cheat sheet still applies.

If you were to write an "iTunes plugin cheatsheet", you'd find that 3 years later it'd still apply. Or, at least, this [apple.com] would seem to imply that the API has remained stable for almost 2 years. Instead of following the Device Plugin mechanism provided by Apple, Palm decided instead to resort to hackery to trick the application into believing the Pre is an iPhone. They also brazenly claimed they'd provide seamless integration with iTunes without actually getting Apple on board. Exactly how, or why, compatibility was broken is irrelevant: you should expect solutions based on hacking away at an application's internals to break frequently, which already fails to accomplish the premise of "seamless integration" without even getting on Apple's bad side. So, unless someone can convince me the API is unwarrantedly crippled, this choice by Palm is indefensible.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (3, Insightful)

Karlt1 (231423) | about 5 years ago | (#29514225)

Apple is using capabilities of the USB spec to disable interoperation with other manufacturers' equipment for what is clearly purely anticompetitive reasons. Don't you think it's a little late to "keep business politics out of this"?

Did Apple ever ask to be able to sync with Windows Media Player? Apple wrote their own app. Why can't Palm do the same? Since day one the iTunes library database has been stored in both a binary file and an XML file. Couldn't half of the readers on Slashdot write a simple GUI to read the XML file, let the users choose which music to sync over and copy the files to a Palm Pre in less than 2 hours?

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#29514597)

And when they change the format on newer versions, to break compatibility with your application?

(They've been doing these tricks since the BeOS days.)

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514233)

Apple is using capabilities of the USB spec to disable interoperation with other manufacturers' equipment for what is clearly purely anticompetitive reasons.

Which is entirely within their rights. You may not like that, but tough shit!

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 5 years ago | (#29514329)

No they don't. They simply refuse to accept that a non-iPod is an iPod. iTunes will happily sync with non-iPods, but only if these devices don't lie about what they are.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (4, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | about 5 years ago | (#29514545)

The key word here is "spec". The USB spec isn't Apples, and it isn't Palms, and it exists to stop this kind of mucking about and clouding the waters. Vendors shouldn't impersonate other vendors' USB devices, period, and I'd imagine membership of the USB consortium requires accepting this at some point. As much as I admire Palm's chutzpah here, and would like the Pre to natively sync, this is exactly the sort of hacking that isn't acceptable in a mass-market consumer device, and must surely be some anti-competition fishing expedition from Palm.

On a practical note: the iPhone sync is 2-way. What would happen if Palm implemented its sync with a bug that zapped your iTunes library?

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (1, Informative)

digitalunity (19107) | about 5 years ago | (#29514093)

The outcome of the USB-IF wasn't made with legality or morality in mind. They made a judgment with member agreements in hand only.

Morally, it's wrong of Apple to deny other media device manufacturers access to iTunes and ITMS. Legally, it's likely also wrong. The DMCA has an exemption for compatibility and the Pre would probably fall under that.

Whether that violates agreements with USB-IF or not is immaterial. You don't need to be a USB-IF member to manufacture USB devices.

If you support Palm, let them know how important the feature is. Be sure to also drop a response by these folks, the Board of Directors at USB-IF letting them know you support Palm's attempt for true compatibility.

* Hewlett-Packard Company - Alan Berkema
* Intel Corporation - Jeff Ravencraft
* LSI Corporation - Dave Thompson
* Microsoft Corporation - Fred Bhesania
* NEC Corporation - Steve Roux
* ST-Ericsson - Geert Knapen

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (3, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 5 years ago | (#29514221)

And you are wrong on both counts. First much of iTunes as it exists today was developed by Apple once they bought the original software, so they are fully in their moral right to ONLY let their equipment use it (which even at that isnt 100% true since other devices CAN use it like the Motorola iTunes phones) Also you are wrong in it being a DMCA issue as there as there is absolutely no compatibility issue. You have other means of getting and using the music in iTunes it's self, you just dont feel like burning a bunch of DVDs or CDs. Had iTunes still have DRM you might have a point, but as they dont except for movies which to my knowledge the Pre didnt play anyway, your point is invalid.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514281)

Morally, it is not wrong. I dont know what kind of ethics or morality you have but when someone creates a piece of software, they get to decide how and with what it will operate, not some third party. It is similar to saying that windows not support ppc or arm processors is immoral. Its just ridiculous. And is it immoral to give something away for free to promote your paid products. Absolutely not. I am no expert on the law but I do know that if doing what Apple has done is illegal, then the law is wrong. As a software developer, I feel I have every legal and moral right to pick and choose the hardware my software operates with whether it be the processor architecture, usb peripherals etc. Palm is in the wrong for syncing in this way and not providing a moral syncing solution to their users.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 5 years ago | (#29514339)

These guys aren't interested in emails from the unwashed Slashdot masses lecturing them about law and morality. And Apple are not under any obligation to support Palm hardware, or even refrain from deliberately stopping their software from supporting it. The USB-IF is for technically discussions, not politics and morality.

Don't get me wrong, Apple's policy of locking their hardware and software together irritates me and I won't buy their stuff. But spamming an engineering working group to try to get them to condemn that policy as being technically wrong misses the point. You're far better off just not buying their stuff.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 5 years ago | (#29514369)

You are an idiot.

Palm programmed the Pre to lie. How is this not morally reprehensible? Or do morals only apply to Apple because you don't like Apple?

Apple does not care if the Pre syncs through iTunes. They really, 100% DO NOT CARE.

Apple cares that non-iPods do not lie about being iPods. It's that simple. Even a slash-hole like you AUGHT to understand that.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 years ago | (#29514595)

You are an idiot.

Palm programmed the Pre to lie. How is this not morally reprehensible?

Well, it appears that in one case at least the Pre has passed the turing test. Naughty little computer!

Morality? (4, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | about 5 years ago | (#29514405)

Morally, it's wrong of Apple to deny other media device manufacturers access to iTunes and ITMS.

Morally? There's nothing immoral about it so far as I can see. With apologies to the authors on wikipedia [wikipedia.org] I just don't see how morality comes into the picture here.

  1. descriptive usage, morality means a code of conduct or belief which is held to be authoritative in matters of right and wrong. Morals are arbitrarily created and subjectively defined by society, philosophy, religion, and/or individual conscience.
  2. normative and universal sense, morality refers to an ideal code of belief and conduct, one which would be espoused in preference to other alternatives by the sane "moral" person, under specified conditions.

There is no authoritative code of conduct here other than our laws and the bylaws. You personally may feel they are behaving immorally but there are plenty who will disagree with you so your personal morals can't be argued in any sort of universal authoritative sense. You might make an open source style argument but you're on shaky ground there too. Neither ITMS nor iTunes is open source software. You know that up front. You also probably know that there are free (as in speech) and/or legal alternatives to both. If you don't like what Apple offers you don't have to use their software and services. Apple is not under any moral or legal obligation to cater to your every whim.

There also is no ideal code of conduct here that we can all agree on. Apple worked hard to create their combination of products and services. Should they not reap the benefits, especially when it has no detrimental effect on you? You may not like Apple not letting it's competitors be free riders [wikipedia.org] but I see nothing morally wrong with them preventing the competition from capitalizing on their work. ITunes is not some piece of public infrastructure and there is no compelling argument that it represents a market failure [wikipedia.org] . The entire reason we have copyrights and patents is precisely to advance the public interest in the face of the free rider problem. There is no compelling public interest to making iTunes or ITMS the equivalent of a common carrier at this time. Neither the software nor the service is a monopoly - both are merely popular in comparison to the alternatives available.

Legally, it's likely also wrong.

I suspect you are not a lawyer and you have provided no evidence whatsoever to back that assertion. I'm pretty aware of the issues involved and I cannot think of any reasonably legal argument whereby Apple is doing anything against the law. Happy to be proven wrong but I doubt you can prove me wrong.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (1, Troll)

billcopc (196330) | about 5 years ago | (#29514267)

Think about what you just did: you posted on Slashdot.

You used a web browser, which sent a few HTTP requests, represented as TCP/IP packets over an ethernet cable, which then traveled to an internet router, possibly via DSL or DOCSIS, got routed via OSPF and BGP, to a server running Apache and Perl.

Every step of that journey involved one or more open, freely-available standards-based protocols that have been embraced by hundreds if not thousands of vendors so they could all communicate with each other. Without all those open protocols, you would be stuck on a Microsoft internet, or an Apple internet, or maybe even a boring conservative IBM internet, and they would all be walled gardens, completely blocked off from each other.

In a market where most people are trying very hard to be compatible with as many others as possible, Apple continues to shut the world out. If users want to sync iTunes with their Palm, or their Rio, or their Samsung, or even their crappy chinese knockoff MP3/Phone/Video/sex-toy, Apple should welcome them with open arms, inviting them in to drink the kool-aid. Shutting them out only means they will stay completely away from Apple's products, hardware AND software.

You get someone like me, I can't stand iPods, I think their sound quality is absolutely shameful, especially considering the premium they're charging for the Apple brand. That said, if I were to find a competing music player that suited my tastes, I might want to hit up iTMS, after all, it is the largest digital music store. Oh noes, iTunes won't sync to my player and I need to jump through hoops with some ghetto 3rd party app ? Screw that, I'll hop onto Rhapsody and Apple gets ZILCH!

Openness benefits everyone, even the greedy bastards who have to loosen their grip. For them to not see it, in this day and age, is a sign of tunnel-vision and obliviousness.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (3, Interesting)

sarahbau (692647) | about 5 years ago | (#29514453)

Think about what you just did: you posted on Slashdot.

You used a web browser, which sent a few HTTP requests, represented as TCP/IP packets over an ethernet cable, which then traveled to an internet router, possibly via DSL or DOCSIS, got routed via OSPF and BGP, to a server running Apache and Perl.

Every step of that journey involved one or more open, freely-available standards-based protocols that have been embraced by hundreds if not thousands of vendors so they could all communicate with each other. Without all those open protocols, you would be stuck on a Microsoft internet, or an Apple internet, or maybe even a boring conservative IBM internet, and they would all be walled gardens, completely blocked off from each other.

You just made a good argument against what Palm did. With all these standards, if companies didn't follow them, there could be problems. Palm didn't follow USB standards and tricked iTunes into thinking it was an iPod. Not every protocol has to be an open standard. If Apple doesn't want to allow everyone to sync with iTunes, they don't have to. Also, openness does not benefit everyone. It benefits some, and could potentially benefit everyone, but doesn't always. When Apple allowed Mac clones to be made, most people thought it would bring Mac OS to a wider market and make Apple more money. Apple still made the OS, and even got licensing fees from the clone manufacturers. All it ended up doing was bite into Apple's revenue. Mac OS market share didn't grow, and Apple was just losing sales to the clones. Even if the average iPod user buys 100 songs over the life of the iPod, Apple still makes more money from the iPod sale than from the music. Why would they want to cut into their iPod sales just to potentially increase the money they get from the iTunes store?

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (3, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | about 5 years ago | (#29514667)

Your post is confusing.

You started off arguing for Apple against Palm by talking about standards needing to be followed which Palm is not doing.

Then you switched to arguing against Apple (but still not for Palm) because you dislike iPods personally.

I guess in the end the issue with following standards is more important than one persons opinion of one product of one company.

So I agree with you that Palm fucked up here by violating standards and trying to wall you into their Pre garden or something.

Oh, and to correct one of your statements, Apple does integrate with 3rd parties with open arms.
They did so with blackberry, Microsoft, and a few others.
The iTunes APIs are published by Apple. I don't know if any license fee is involved, but I didn't think so. Don't quote me on that last bit though.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514279)

Yet Apple using SAMBA to pretend to be a Windows server is just SUPER!

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (2, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29514283)

If this were Internet Exploder that forced vendors to engage in shenanigans
like this NO ONE would object to the shenanigan and EVERY Apple fanboy would
be standing in line to heap the abuse onto Microsoft.

The fact that the software allows interoperability with nothing more than
a spoofed client ID just goes to show that Apple is creating an artificial
compatability here that ties into their dominance in media players and
online sales of downloadable media. If Google or Microsoft were doing the
same thing, people would be calling for blood.

It's a total double standard.

No FAKE IDs (1)

omb (759389) | about 5 years ago | (#29514373)

Faking the vendor ID is just stupid and illegal, Palm should do their own thing.

Re:Talk about a pathetic article (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 5 years ago | (#29514501)

"You may not like Apple but a lot of people from day one called into question Palms legality on their faking out iTunes "
I sure didn't. What law was broken? Even the DMCA has previsions for stuff like this.
There is no legal question about this or as far as I can tell with Apple changing it to stop it except that it is just ugly.
Palm should work with Songbird and other music players to add sync for the Palm. "Yes I know about the mass storage device option". Maybe Songbird needs to work a deal with Amazon to also intergrate the Amazon music store into Songbird as well.

Apple should allow others to sync with iTunes. Apple didn't invent the idea of syncing they pretty much copied Palm on that idea. The iTunes Store is the biggest music vendor in the US so tying it in any way to one device does seem to smell of anti-trust. Apple would be wise to open up. BTW Apple is the biggest music retailer in the US! I can no long buy the line that the iTunes store doesn't make that much money and it is only there to help sell hardware.
But nothing has been done that is in any way illegal. Silly maybe but not illegal.

Palm Got What They Deserved (3, Insightful)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 5 years ago | (#29513903)

Since the main selling point of the Pre was unauthorized iTunes sync.

Serves them right.

Re:Palm Got What They Deserved (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29513917)

Why syncing with iTunes need to be authorized?

Re:Palm Got What They Deserved (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29513957)

Not only does it not need to be authorized, it is also legal to circumvent any and all obstructions which have been put into place to prevent syncing with iTunes, per explicit exemption in the DMCA for creating compatibility.

Re:Palm Got What They Deserved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514107)

"it is also legal to circumvent any and all obstructions... per explicit exemption in the DMCA for creating compatibility". The DMCA exemption only applies to the DMCA, not to 'any and all obstructions'. It does not indemnify Palm against any other laws which may apply such as if they have a civil contract or agreement with the USB-IF, commit patent violations, or any other law.

Re:Palm Got What They Deserved (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 5 years ago | (#29514201)

Why can't Palm write their own syncing program?
The iTunes tracks aren't protected by DRM.

Palm was trying to get a free ride by not having to write their own syncing program.

Re:Palm Got What They Deserved (0)

cerberusss (660701) | about 5 years ago | (#29514341)

It's not that simple. Apple is trying to create an ecosystem with iTunes. It can function as a media server, a shop for video, audio, apps, ringtones, it's a media player et cetera, all while giving others access using a variety of means. They have the obligation in my opinion to work with others. You can't say: "here's this great open platform for media" and then say: "ooooh Palm is showing up, I'm picking up my ball and go home".

Now what Palm is trying to do is dodgy, that's true. But there's another side as well.

Re:Palm Got What They Deserved (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about 5 years ago | (#29514503)

Why don't you pull your head out of your ass. Apple provides an API toallow iTunes to snyc to anything. All palm needed was a plugin. However palm broke their USB speecs, and legal agreements they lied to end users, iTunes and the USB-IF

Instead of following the rules palm stole and lied to every pre owner and your too stupid to see that. Apple constantly changes things and yetstill have a better user Interface than msft who won't change their underwear.

Re:Palm Got What They Deserved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514543)

They have the obligation in my opinion to work with others. You can't say: "here's this great open platform for media" and then say: "ooooh Palm is showing up, I'm picking up my ball and go home".

Now what Palm is trying to do is dodgy, that's true. But there's another side as well.

The key point here is "in your opinion". Nothing Apple is doing is morally or legally wrong and they don't seem to picking up their ball and going home either. Rather they're investing in their own software and expanding and enhancing it's capabilities.

If Palm likes the software so much, they can either build an equivalent, link into the freely, publicly accessible XML file or just pay Apple to allow Palm Pre to link directly into iTunes (like the iTunes Motorola phone).

Re:Palm Got What They Deserved (1)

NiteShaed (315799) | about 5 years ago | (#29514115)

The main selling point of the Pre is WebOS. Sure, the iTunes synch was a nice little extra, but I used that feature once and pretty much forgot about it. Of the other Pre owners I've run into, iTunes was pretty much a non-issue.

You are right though in that Palm shouldn't have even bothered including, let alone publicizing a hack that could be so easily disabled.

Think of Barcodes (5, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | about 5 years ago | (#29513939)

To all those people who think "What is the big deal about faking yourself as Apple?". The point is that these are reserved identifiers in the same way as barcodes are reserved identifiers.

Would it be right for Palm to use the iPhone barcode for the Pre? Clearly not.

So here is another case where there is a specific rule around reserved identifiers and Palm broke the rules. Their alternative is to opt-out of the USB group and do it themselves without its blessing or just suck it up.

Complaining about the rules of a game after joining the table and playing a few hands is just dumb.

Re:Think of Barcodes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514023)

Apple is abusing the ID in an attempt to stifle competition. Palm is working around that despicable behavior. If someone made barcode readers which only read a subset of vendor IDs and sold them to all grocery stores at a big discount, then yes, faking that vendor ID would be perfectly justified if other means of restoring competition fell on deaf ears or took to long for the shunned to stay in business. Anticompetitive practices are the worst behavior in a market economy and the punishment should be swift and painful to the anticompetitive business.

Re:Think of Barcodes (2, Insightful)

SimonGhent (57578) | about 5 years ago | (#29514095)

Apple is abusing the ID in an attempt to stifle competition. Palm is working around that despicable behavior.

Or maybe Palm is faking the ID so that its owners can use the iTunes software that Apple spends significant money developing, rather than develop its own software. Apple is preventing that despicable behavior.

Re:Think of Barcodes (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514175)

Somebody needs to make another 1984 ad, with Steve Jobs indoctrinating the masses of obedient Apple users. If you really can't see that a program which does everything to take control of your entire music library should not exclude players simple because they're sold by another company, there's probably an Apple certificate of ownership in your passport.

Re:Think of Barcodes (0, Flamebait)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 5 years ago | (#29514415)

If you really are as stupid as your posts indicate (and I know not all AC posts are from the same person), you need to swallow several gallons of gasoline and set yourself on fire.

Re:Think of Barcodes (1)

indiechild (541156) | about 5 years ago | (#29514471)

If you're not using an iPod or an iPhone, you don't have to use iTunes to control your music library do you?

Palm chose to play dirty, and they got slapped down. Palm tries to bully Apple, and gets its nose bloodied instead. Revenge is best served cold. Ed Colligan has shown himself to be an ignorant and immature dumbass. A smart CEO would have made a mutually beneficial agreement with Apple.

Re:Think of Barcodes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514579)

Suppose I own an iPod. Suppose I also own a Pre. Why would I want two different music libraries on my computer? That's why it's anticompetitive to exclude the Pre: If you have an iPod, you're using iTunes. Not being able to sync a Pre to it is a strong disincentive against buying a Pre.

Re:Think of Barcodes (3, Insightful)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about 5 years ago | (#29514537)

Or maybe Palm is faking the ID so that its owners can use the iTunes software that Apple spends significant money developing, rather than develop its own software. Apple is preventing that despicable behavior.

First let me say that I'm glad Palm got reprimanded for faking the vendor ID. If suddenly that was allowed, there would be utter chaos as multiple devices pretend to be other devices and mess up proper loading of drivers and other important features.

That said, if Apple wants money back for the software development they put in iTunes, they need to charge for it. Once the software is installed on my computer it's no longer their software, it's mine. I should have the right to use to sync with whatever device I want to sync with, and anybody should have the right to make their hardware talk with whatever software is available on the user's computers.

And finally, I don't even understand why Palm wants that feature. The real problem is that I need to sync my iphone with that piece of crap software, not that I can't sync other stuff with itunes. God, how I wish I never had to open that horrible software, could just mount the iphone like a usb drive, and dump music files there, as with any other mp3 mplayer.

Re:Think of Barcodes (1)

SimonGhent (57578) | about 5 years ago | (#29514637)

That said, if Apple wants money back for the software development they put in iTunes, they need to charge for it.

Well, they sort of do... in order to use it with a portable music player you have to buy an iPod.

Re:Think of Barcodes (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 5 years ago | (#29514589)

Replace Apple with Microsoft, and does the sentence work? Yes it does. The point is Apple have EVERY BIT as big a monopoly with media players as MSFT has with desktop OSes. I wouldn't be surprised if the combined total of iPod/iPhone is 90+%, with everyone else fighting over the remaining scraps. Palm should file antitrust on Apple, and I wouldn't be surprised if they did. And if Apple loses? No more using their owning of one market (music/video through ITMS) to tie into another (iPod/iPhone) which would be better for everyone.

It really amazes me how Apple can act like total pricks and so many here trip over their own feet rushing to defend them. Is the shiny THAT damned blinding?

Re:Think of Barcodes (1)

SimonGhent (57578) | about 5 years ago | (#29514679)

It really amazes me how Apple can act like total pricks and so many here trip over their own feet rushing to defend them. Is the shiny THAT damned blinding?

Maybe people read the story (OK, the summary), had a think about it and regardless of who was involved, came to a decision.

I'm not saying that's what happened, but you have to admit, it's a possibility. In the real world most people aren't rabid fanboys who have a default opinion based on who makes something.

Re:Think of Barcodes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514051)

The rule seems to be in place to specifically prevent individuals and companies from exercising their right to reverse engineer for the purposes of compatibility though.

Surely that can't be legal?

Re:Think of Barcodes (1)

gabebear (251933) | about 5 years ago | (#29514523)

The rules are their so companies can identify their products and load drivers. Palm isn't emulating an iPhone perfectly, which creates compatibility problems for Apple. I wonder how many calls Apple has gotten complaining that their Palm-Pre doesn't play the DRMed songs they downloaded from iTunes.

Palm should have taken the route that Blackberry took. http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/media/mediasync.jsp [blackberry.com]

Re:Think of Barcodes (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514075)

They are nothing like barcodes, which fulfil a sales role.

The vendor ID is informational. It is designed just to let you know who the device was made by.

To find out what the device can do, whence how to talk to it, you have USB device classes etc.

Apple were incorrectly using the vendor ID in their software.in the spirit of standards, Palm were making up for this. Apple's response was not to show contrition, but to further break the spirit of standards by using an undisclosed algorithm to detect whether a genuine iPod was being connected.

Palm have done precisely what is correct when negotiation fails: to take peaceful direct action to solve an injustice.

If Palm want to respond to this gaggle, I suggest one paragraph on the technical flaws of USB (focusing on all the things 1394 got right, before Apple abandoned that), another paragraph about how long it's taken to decide what a standard USB power supply is (incorporating some footnotes commenting on the extent to which the MacBook Air and iPods respect rules on power), with a final paragraph promising an explicit "non-compliance to uphold the spirit of standards" option on the handset, so the user can be clear whether he is operating in "pretend the handset has a USB forum logo" mode or not.

Expected outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29513991)

It's not like the USB-IF had any choice. They could not have voted against one of their biggest members, a huge software and hardware developer/vendor. No matter what, there's no way they could have done anything Apple would have disagreed with.

Re:Expected outcome (1)

Shag (3737) | about 5 years ago | (#29514319)

I'd like to think that it was less USB-IF being beholden to Apple, and more USB-IF being beholden to their own rules, which Palm agreed to when they joined... but that would be far too sensible. :(

This doesn't sound unreasonable to me. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29513999)

Apple isn't doing anything to extend USB in a proprietary fashion; it's using an existing feature to differentiate between devices. It's blocking some of them deliberately from working with its software, but it's doing so in a USB-compatible way. Even if they were denied this access, wouldn't it be possible for them to create a challenge-response between the software and their authorized devices that didn't involve the USB Vendor ID?

On the other hand, faking a Vendor ID for your USB device is bound to irritate and annoy the standards group responsible for issuing and tracking Vendor IDs -- even if it's done for the noblest of compatibility purposes.

This iTunes lockout is really lame, but the USB-IF shouldn't have to be involved in it. And instead of fighting that battle, couldn't Palm channel its energy into developing an alternative to iTunes and partnering with a decent DRM-free music provider such as Amazon? If their alternative is solid enough, perhaps it could be licensed to other device manufacturers for extra benefit?

Re:This doesn't sound unreasonable to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514203)

As users, our concern should be to remove artificial limitations. I do not want 3 different music store and library programs on my computer just so that I can sync devices from different vendors. They'll keep a lid on "their" collection of music that I've bought. Here's my Palm music, here's my iPod music, here's my Nokia music. It's ridiculous. Apple needs to be struck hard for putting up that fence.

Re:This doesn't sound unreasonable to me. (3, Funny)

devaldez (310051) | about 5 years ago | (#29514649)

Well said. Moreover, for those of us who have dealt with hardware piracy, Device and Vendor IDs are critical identification tools, not only to ensure that OUR software runs correctly, but it's one other way to identify pirated hardware. Most pirates aren't smart enough to use the correct information in the flash. Heck it was so important 10 years ago that Microsoft used Windows Update to enforce four-field enforcement on PCI devices. Instead of using two-field matching, that allowed, say, Asus motherboards to coat-tail on Intel drivers, Windows Update required four-field matching (Vendor ID, Device ID, Subvendor ID, subdevice ID). While it added an additional layer of validation cost, Microsoft did it because of the problems with incompatible drivers, not piracy. Also, in the PCI world, falsifying IDs is just as critical as in the USB world.

My main concern is that the purpose of these IDs is to ensure compatibility, which Apple can, in no way, guarantee with the Pre. Had Palm asked and entered into an arrangement, they might've had the opportunity to do it right. It's also true that Apple has no legal requirement to facilitate the functionality and no MORAL obligation, for that matter. The way Palm went about the Pre indicates that no matter how revolutionary the OS is (and it IS), it will be marginalized for both consumers AND business. Palm has developed a pattern on the Pre of half-assing things that actually MATTER (ActiveSync security, anyone?).

Letter to FDA (5, Funny)

MBCook (132727) | about 5 years ago | (#29514007)

Dear FDA,

We here at Bob's Atrocious Dealings are having a problem and require your help.

As you may know, Neodyne Inexpensive Care-taking Equipment gives away free diabetes test strips as an incentive to get people to buy their Glucodex 1726 Blood Glucose Meter. These strips are coded to only work with their meter.

We here at B.A.D. sell a competing meter, the Blud-O-Matic 666, which has been designed to use their free strips by pretending to be their meter.

Now you may not have known about our device, as we didn't submit it to you for review. You approved our previous product, the Seth's-Audi-Scope 1996, so we figured you'd be good.

Now our customers, who use the free strips that N.I.C.E. provides their users, are having problems since they keep changing the way their meter works. This is causing us problems, and our confused customers aren't even asking us for support sometimes since they think it's N.I.C.E.'s fault.

FDA, please slap down N.I.C.E. for hampering competition by making it hard for us to profit off their hard work by deliberately changing their strips to fail with our unregistered, uncertified meter. It's confusing our customers that one of the features we trumpet in all our marketing keeps breaking.

Sincerely,
Edward Vi Lancelot

Re:Letter to FDA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29514155)

i get it, but did you have to paint it into such a black and white issue?

Re:Letter to FDA (2, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29514297)

I can't stand these folks who insist that they have a right to infringe on others intellectual property. Apple spent millions of dollars on R&D to create this device that has revolutionized the online music industry. Apple the iPod helped Apple stay out of the commodity PC business and boost them back into a great growth company that they were back in the 1980s. Then these parasites come around, use Apples IP to piggy back on its hard work and money. Thank God someone has the good sense to finally value IP.

Not surprising. (5, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 5 years ago | (#29514039)

Palm claimed Apple was violating the spirit of the agreement by using their vendor ID to lock iTunes to their products.

Palm used this to justify breaking the actual letter of the agreement by using Apple's vendor ID to trick iTunes into thinking Palm devices were iPods.

So, guess who got in trouble? The guy who actually violated the agreement, of course.

Re:Not surprising. (1)

xploraiswakco (703340) | about 5 years ago | (#29514335)

Yep, and another thing to remember, Apple uses the vendor ID for iTunes to know how to operate the device (think software drivers for hardware), Palm in using the Apple's vendor ID the way they have, and also telling the public about it, effectively breaks every consumer guarantee law that some countries have, because they put themselves in a position where they have no control over the driver, and therefore no control over the claimed ability of the device, this effectively translates as false advertising, and making promises they can't keep.

In short, Palm were lazy and Apple called them on it. (FYI, in New Zealand Palm has broken the law, anyone that buys one of these devices in New Zealand, has the right under Law to sue Palm for false advertising, among other things).

Re:Not surprising. (2, Informative)

will-el (78139) | about 5 years ago | (#29514419)

It's not so simple.

IBM dominated the mainframe computer market in the 1970s (by making a superior product to Burroughs, Honeywell, etc.). However, they required their customers to buy IBM disk drives, IBM terminals, IBM printers, etc. This was ruled anti-competitive by the courts, and it was made legal for competitors to reverse engineer IBM's interfaces, spoofing as needed, in order to make "plug compatible" peripherals (and mainframes). The public benefited from the competition.

Apple now dominates the music player market (by making a superior product to Archos, Sandisk, etc.). However, they want to tie the iTunes to the iPod-- this is anti-competitive. Palm is fully within it's rights to reverse engineer and spoof the interface in order to make a plug compatible peripheral -- and the public benefits.

Re:Not surprising. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 5 years ago | (#29514681)

Palm is fully within it's rights to reverse engineer and spoof the interface in order to make a plug compatible peripheral -- and the public benefits.

Perhaps, but it appears they won't remain in USB-IF's good graces if they do.

Unsurprising; but doesn't make me enthusiastic... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29514193)

Obviously, the USB-IF is going to take a dim view of spoofing vendor IDs. They were considered important enough to have in the spec, for whatever reason, so faking them isn't going to go over well. I don't really know what outcome Palm was expecting.

However, that said, I can't see tying attempts between products(above and beyond the natural tying effects that the complexity of software interaction naturally produces) as being even a remotely good thing for users, competition, or technological development generally.

Imagine if, back in the day, the "Well, they should just write their own iTunes-like application" had been applied to Compaq and the IBM-compatible clone kiddies. "Well, they can just write their own OS and set of applications..." Even back then, with the fairly minimal legacy effects, that would have retarded the development of cheap, standard, supports-the-software-you-want-to-run computers. It is basically demanding that anybody who wants to make anything must have a complete vertically integrated product range, to which they must induce customers to switch.

Very rarely in the history of technology has that ever worked particularly well. Most of the time, development consists of a few standards, formal or de-facto, and the surrounding ecosystems of add-ons, compatible widgets, clones, extensions, and software, authorized and unauthorized. And, frankly, that has worked pretty well. Modern technology is competitive, fast, ubiquitous, and impressively cheap.

If, in the future, we move away from the annoying-but-largely-useless forms of tying involving monkeying with pinouts every generation, and obfuscating stuff, and move to effective forms of tying based on crypto challenge-response, signing, vendor IDs, and the like(along with a fair bit of force of law, thanks to Mr. DMCA) I fear we will see a much less rich period of technological development.

Few companies are large enough, or smart enough, to maintain a fully integrated product line. Fewer customers actually want to use every one of a company's products, and none of their competitor's products. They want things to work together. Obviously, some degree of imperfection in interface is to be expected, interconnection of complex systems is Hard and writing wholly unambiguous specs is Very Hard. Deliberate breakage, though, is insult to injury.

Re:Unsurprising; but doesn't make me enthusiastic. (1)

coinreturn (617535) | about 5 years ago | (#29514423)

Imagine if, back in the day, the "Well, they should just write their own iTunes-like application" had been applied to Compaq and the IBM-compatible clone kiddies. "Well, they can just write their own OS and set of applications..." Even back then, with the fairly minimal legacy effects, that would have retarded the development of cheap, standard, supports-the-software-you-want-to-run computers.

It may have worked out nicely for people who want cheap Chinese hardware, but how did that work out for IBM in the profit area? They sure are a powerhouse in PCs now, aren't they?

Re:Unsurprising; but doesn't make me enthusiastic. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29514489)

My interest in IBM's margins on one of their product lines is vastly less than my interest in the entire IBM-compatible x86 market.

Re:Unsurprising; but doesn't make me enthusiastic. (2, Interesting)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 5 years ago | (#29514463)

Why is it so fucking hard for you assholes to understand that Apple is NOT taking a legal stance on this issue?

Apple doesn't want devices to lie. Palm wants to lie. This is fairly simple.

It's so discouraging to see that it's OK to lie as long as your lying to a company that you don't like.

Re:Unsurprising; but doesn't make me enthusiastic. (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29514641)

I don't understand why you attach a moral dimension to this "lie". When designing a device to interoperate with another system, you make the device send and receive whatever signals the other system is expecting, both in physical and logical terms. If you want to interact with a system, you must operate in a manner similar to the device that the system is expecting to interact with.

This has always been the case with interoperable systems. In this particular instance, one of the signals that iTunes expects is a USB vendor ID of 0x05AC. If you want to natively interoperate with iTunes, you have to emit that signal(aside from a few legacy players in the mac iTunes client from its pre Apple days). The fact that, in addition to being an expected signal, "USB vendor ID: 0x05AC" can also mean "Apple device" doesn't seem ethically relevant.

Do you get upset when Opera "lies" about its browser ID in order to induce webservers to send it the same page that they would send IE?

The New iTunes 9 by apple (-1, Redundant)

markzenegar (1642959) | about 5 years ago | (#29514231)

iTunes is a popular music service by apple. Now I had read that the latest version of iTunes 9 is released recently. iTunes 9, which offers several new features, such as "iTunes LP '. The album format is categorize under the songs with lyrics, info, lyrics, of course, a booklet or the respective artist interviews accumulates. The trick: The bands or the labels themselves are able to deposit such additional content on iTunes for download. Apple launches the latest version of iTunes called iTunes 9 to the public on October 10. Supported OS are Windows XP / Vista and, Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later. The iTunes Store is limited to a specific album to be sold, as well as music files, song lyrics and artwork, liner notes, interviews, photos, album credits and provides more visual data than ever before. Apple is "looking forward to coming back flip through the vinyl. Read more here. http://www.techarena.in/review/11417-itunes-9-intereactive-music-service-apple.htm [techarena.in]

How is this Apple's fault? (4, Insightful)

Kevinv (21462) | about 5 years ago | (#29514549)

I love how the comments immediately blame Apple for all of this. How is this any of Apple's fault?

PALM complained about APPLE to the USB-IF. Apple re-tweaked iTunes, their own software, to verify the devices claiming to be ipods were really ipods. They didn't claim copyright infringement, they didn't issue DMCA notices, they didn't make patent infringement claims, they just changed their software to make sure devices they support were actually devices they were modifying. Palm makes it's computer connections lie, and it's Apple's fault. Awesome.

Apple is not the most open company around, but if openess is what you want then don't buy Apple, it's not like you're forced to.

I'm not really sure why people whine about the iPod not being open. It doesn't lock you in to the iTunes store, or DRM stuff, even on video. I buy most of my music from EMusic then Amazon MP3 store then finally iTunes. It'll accept music from peer-to-peer networks as well.

90% of my videos are ripped from DVD and have no DRM. Works fine on my iPod and Apple TV.

iTunes? (2, Funny)

Elwar123 (1053566) | about 5 years ago | (#29514657)

Ok, maybe I've completely missed the boat her but...I still don't understand the whole iTunes hystaria... Why pay for proprietary formats of music that you can only play on certain devices? My Palm Pre plays MP3s, why would I want to go out of my way to make it sync up with something that requires me to pay for music? I had the iPhone for a while, I never used the iTunes thing. I never saw any reason, and I could never figure out how to get it to play MP3s. The Palm Pre you just hook up to the computer and drag your MP3s over to the music folder. Plus you can ssh into your Palm Pre and manipulate the Linux files. The only thing I miss from the iPhone is the ease of use of the voicemail. I also get a buttload of free apps on the Pre.

poor Palm (1)

chelroms (1642993) | about 5 years ago | (#29514673)

if Palm really want there rights, they will push it... truth shall prevail http://www.techandgizmo.com/ [techandgizmo.com]
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