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  1.    #1  
    September 29, 2009
    Palm Pre's New Strategy: Forget iTunes, Hello Wireless Amazon Downloads
    By SARAH PEREZ of ReadWriteWeb
    When the Palm Pre debuted, one of its most useful features was its ability to sync with Apple's iTunes software. Unfortunately, how it went about doing this was a little bit underhanded: it pretended to be an iPhone. The most recent version of the hack - yes, there were several - was made possible by Palm's use of Apple's USB hardware vendor code provided by the USB Implementers Forum, an industry standards group. The Pre simply used Apple's code so that iTunes would see the Pre as an Apple device. Apple of course, was not happy, and purposefully broke this functionality in subsequent iTunes software updates. Palm responded by complaining to the Forum, but the group took Apple's side.

    Now, finally, the Apple/Palm war seems to have ended. With the latest update to Palm Pre's webOS software, the company has come up with a new tactic altogether: forget about iTunes, use Amazon instead.

    Palm vs. Apple

    The back-and-forth between Apple and Palm was getting ugly. A cat and mouse game involving hacks, crippling updates from Apple, then re-hacks from Palm did nothing for either company's image. Some felt that Apple had every right to protect their software from being used with other devices - after all, if something went wrong with Pre syncing, consumers could easily blame Apple's software for the troubles. They may even call in for support, not understanding that Apple wouldn't be able to handle issues arising from the use of a competitor's hardware.

    Others, however, felt that Apple should open up. With their dominance over the entire digital media player industry, keeping their proprietary software a closed system was a way to make sure that no up-and-comers could ever have a shot at becoming a popular alternative to the iPod or iPhone. Palm, of course, felt this way, too. They complained to the USB-IF saying that consumers should have a right to decide how they use the media they purchase. That is, if they bought content from iTunes, they should be able to sync it to the Pre.

    The USB-IF did not agree, though. They sent letters to both companies explaining that Palm's use of Apple's USB vendor code actually violated the group's rules and would need to end. Clearly, Palm lost this round, too - but don't count them out just yet.

    Palm Releases webOS 1.2

    Yesterday, Palm released an update the Pre software, webOS. While most of the reporting surrounding the new OS involved the important update which brings paid applications to the Pre's App Catalog, another under-reported feature is actually just as (if not more) important. The Pre now lets you download over-the-air from Amazon's MP3 Store.

    According to the Official Palm Blog, the Amazon integration works both over WAN or Wi-Fi, meaning that you don't need to be hooked up to a PC via USB to purchase music on your Pre. You can now do so directly from the device, just like Apple iPod Touch and iPhone users can do through Apple's mobile iTunes Store. Although the iTunes experience overall may have been the preferable option for many users, Amazon at least provides a viable alternative for Pre owners. Amazon's online catalog may still be a few million short of that of Apple's, but often their prices are much more affordable thanks to daily deals and albums that start at $4.99.

    While Palm hasn't officially responded to the USB-IF's letter - despite being told they had to do so within a week - it seems that they have, without actually saying so, made their decision. The latest update's release notes does not mention iTunes syncing, and, as many expected, it has not been re-enabled.

    It looks like Palm Pre has given up the fight for good, now betting entirely on Amazon. The company's original plan to sync with iTunes was a calculated risk and one which now leaves consumers holding the short end of the stick. How many Pre owners bought the Pre because it synced with iTunes? How many are angry or disappointed because it doesn't now? It may have been better if Palm never went this route to begin with and worked on making the Amazon integration the key selling point from day one. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20. However, their decision may end up having a major impact on the company's future, considering they've essentially bet the farm on webOS, ending support for devices running both the original Palm OS and Windows Mobile. Will giving up on iTunes impact device sales for the struggling company? Or will extricating themselves from this nasty war with Apple end up being the best thing they could have done?
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  2. #2  
    Apple has every right to block palm. You can't tell me palm wouldn't have done the same to protect its own interests. Please.

    Good for apple. If palm is to succeed, let them do it on THEIR OWN merits, not by riding apple's or anyone else's coat tails.
  3. Xyg
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    #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by treobk214 View Post
    Apple has every right to block palm. You can't tell me palm wouldn't have done the same to protect its own interests. Please.

    Good for apple. If palm is to succeed, let them do it on THEIR OWN merits, not by riding apple's or anyone else's coat tails.
    Thanks for completely missing the point, treobk.

    If Palm can, with little resources, continue to implement their direct sync with iTunes, they should absolutely do so. The downsides are minimal and the benefits are good.

    And enabling Amazon mp3 downloads over the cell network? It has everything to do with the upcoming Pixie, which lacks WiFi.
  4. #4  
    Who knows why EvDO downloads were disabled in the first place. Sprint concern over bandwidth or BS agreement relating to its own music store? That Palm removed the restriction is not an indication of a strategic shift the article points to. Also note that this is a ReadWriteWeb article syndicated to the NYTimes.
    Palm Vx > Treo 650 > Centro > G1 > Pre > BlackBerry 9700
  5. #5  
    I didn't miss the point. Palm is pursuing amazon as a venue for music downloads instead of itunes. I got that, xyg.

    I am just saying I believe apple has every right to block palm devices from use on their music software system. It was dishonest for palm to "sneak" onto itunes by disguising pre's as iphones, so they should be blocked.
  6. Xyg
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    #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by treobk214 View Post
    I didn't miss the point. Palm is pursuing amazon as a venue for music downloads instead of itunes. I got that, xyg.

    I am just saying I believe apple has every right to block palm devices from use on their music software system. It was dishonest for palm to "sneak" onto itunes by disguising pre's as iphones, so they should be blocked.
    And since Apple has every right to block such interoperability, Palm has every right to re-enable it ever time Apple does so.
  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by treobk214 View Post
    I am just saying I believe apple has every right to block palm devices from use on their music software system. It was dishonest for palm to "sneak" onto itunes by disguising pre's as iphones, so they should be blocked.
    The only arbiter on what should be connected to what is the user. There is no morality in the interaction between pieces of technology.

    You can run Windows in VMWare on a Mac pretending to be a PC. Apple's OS X uses SMB to access Windows shared drives without licensing anything from Microsoft. Apple iWork opens Word documents. To this day, Safari pretends to be Mozilla when visiting websites.

    We can take this further: you can replace any part in your car with an aftermarket one. You can service it in any independent shop that you trust to know what it's doing.

    Why are you defending Apple?
    Palm Vx > Treo 650 > Centro > G1 > Pre > BlackBerry 9700
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by treobk214 View Post
    Apple has every right to block palm. You can't tell me palm wouldn't have done the same to protect its own interests. Please.

    Good for apple. If palm is to succeed, let them do it on THEIR OWN merits, not by riding apple's or anyone else's coat tails.
    Forget Apple, this is about us and if so than we should pursue what is in our best interest (by your own logic) - which is pressuring Apple to allow Pre syncing.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Xyg View Post
    And since Apple has every right to block such interoperability, Palm has every right to re-enable it ever time Apple does so.
    Exactly. And, it has nothing to do with "honesty"...
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by sivan View Post
    The only arbiter on what should be connected to what is the user. There is no morality in the interaction between pieces of technology.

    You can run Windows in VMWare on a Mac pretending to be a PC. Apple's OS X uses SMB to access Windows shared drives without licensing anything from Microsoft. Apple iWork opens Word documents. To this day, Safari pretends to be Mozilla when visiting websites.

    We can take this further: you can replace any part in your car with an aftermarket one. You can service it in any independent shop that you trust to know what it's doing.

    Why are you defending Apple?
    He's not. He's attacking the Pre. It's a mission for some...
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by ilovedessert View Post
    forget about iTunes, use Amazon instead.
    I have about 200 gigabytes of music on my computer. I have about 35 playlists on my computer. I have more then a terabyte of video.

    Amazon can not move the music from my computer to my Pre? Amazon cannot sync my playlists. Amazon cannot sync podcasts. I'm not dependent on Itunes. But Itunes is much more then a place to buy music. Itunes is a desktop media manager. Amazon is not. And it will not be one any time soon. And Wireless downloads which should have been included from the start does not make Amazon a desktop media manager. Personally I think the author of that piece fails to understand the scope of itunes or the nature of the solution that itunes provided.
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by blackmagic01 View Post
    I have about 200 gigabytes of music on my computer. I have about 35 playlists on my computer. I have more then a terabyte of video.

    Amazon can not move the music from my computer to my Pre? Amazon cannot sync my playlists. Amazon cannot sync podcasts. I'm not dependent on Itunes. But Itunes is much more then a place to buy music. Itunes is a desktop media manager. Amazon is not. And it will not be one any time soon. And Wireless downloads which should have been included from the start does not make Amazon a desktop media manager. Personally I think the author of that piece fails to understand the scope of itunes or the nature of the solution that itunes provided.
    Unfortunately, I agree.
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by sivan View Post
    The only arbiter on what should be connected to what is the user. There is no morality in the interaction between pieces of technology.

    You can run Windows in VMWare on a Mac pretending to be a PC. Apple's OS X uses SMB to access Windows shared drives without licensing anything from Microsoft. Apple iWork opens Word documents. To this day, Safari pretends to be Mozilla when visiting websites.

    We can take this further: you can replace any part in your car with an aftermarket one. You can service it in any independent shop that you trust to know what it's doing.

    Why are you defending Apple?
    Sivan, your examples above are a bit confusing. Is Apple doing something in your examples that a standards body or company (like Microsoft) does not approve?

    Also are you suggesting that it's ok for Palm to continue pretending to be Apple even though the USB-IF folks (and Apple) disapprove?

    In your 'car' metaphor what does the car represent: iTunes software, media used with iTunes, something else? What does 'servicing' a car mean: modifying iTunes, or something else? In both cases, I assume you are referring to the former (i.e., iTunes).

    The car methaphor does raise some interesting points/questions. For instance, who owns the car? You, your lending bank, the car dealership, insurer, someone else? If someone own it outright and had no obligations whatsoever to anyone else, it would be tough to find a reason to restrict how/where/when they service the car. In fact that owner could give others permission to do the servicing on their behalf (probably with specific guidelines on what's okay).

    But if the car is leased, insured, or financed, the 'ownership' structure is much more complicated. And even if it's owned outright by an individual, that person might still have to abide by certain obligations (e.g., state emission inspection at approved auto shops, type of services needed to maintain warranty; type of services that void warranty, etc).

    Getting back to iTunes. Who owns it and what 'rights and obligations' does the owner have?
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    #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by blackmagic01 View Post
    Personally I think the author of that piece fails to understand the scope of itunes or the nature of the solution that itunes provided.
    Agree 100%. First off, Amazon download was already available, just over Wi-Fi previously. But either way, the iTunes issue comes down to sync. Not purchasing music or having free access to your media files (which is the same whether the DRM-free music comes from Apple or Amazon).
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    #15  
    hello palm. I'd like to introduce you to my friend zune marketplace....
  16. gbp
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    #16  
    oh well wait till October 6th,
    Doubletwist is introducing new version of its software.
    It lets you sync with many devices.
  17. #17  
    The problem is that Palm pushes itunes sync as a feature. Anyone interested in researching a Pre surely checks out Palm's website. There, under the music category, you see download amazon songs and use Itunes. Only in small print at the bottom of page nearly hidden is anything talking about itunes 8.2 only or that future compatibility isn't guaranteed.

    Palm Music Assistant was released July 30.

    What is this software?

    The Palm Music Assistant gives you an easy way to move music files you bought from the Amazon MP3 app on your phone into your iTunes library on your computer. You can do the transfer yourself using the USB Drive on your phone but the Palm Music Assistant automates the process for you.

    Clearly then, using Itunes is Palm's preference and really the only option they offer any mainstream user who obviously won't settle for drag n drop. Those of us on here are savvy enough to use doubletwist or whatever. But many mainstream users (the bulk of palm's customers) won't know these options. They'll only be frustrated.

    Will Palm develop an alternative or promote an existing app like doublesync? Who knows... But they should act quick and do SOMETHING as the majority of their users have been left in the lurch since Apple's last update and all the literature and even their own website still pushes itunes.

    Picture a new buyer. He goes home, after seeing under features that you are supposed to use itunes to sync music. (Again this is key...palm pushed this and continues to do so ). He then can't get his Pre to work with itunes. He gets frustrated. Maybe calls sprint who then tell him..sorry, it doesn't work anymore.
  18. gbp
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    #18  
    Many folks have iTune accounts , and would love to buy it form the store. Its a knows software than going to a new site.

    PALM should talk to Apple for enabling Pre on the DRM free media.
    If Apple refuses to work with other companies, well they are no better than Sony i.e. they will be irrelevant.
  19. gbp
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    #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardfan View Post

    Picture a new buyer. He goes home, after seeing under features that you are supposed to use itunes to sync music. (Again this is key...palm pushed this and continues to do so ). He then can't get his Pre to work with itunes. He gets frustrated. Maybe calls sprint who then tell him..sorry, it doesn't work anymore.
    +1
    That is where the problem is. Folks on the forum doesn't understand that majority of Pre owners are not willing to spend time on doubletwists and songbirds. They love their iPod and their iTunes. All they want is to move the songs to Pre, just like they do with iPod.

    PALM needs to work on educating folks on how to do it without iTunes. Perhaps a video consisting of the steps needed to do will help.

    Or go back to iTunes 8.2, there are plenty available.
    The best SPRINT can do is to staff their tech support with the 8.2 version for helping in-store customers.
  20. #20  
    [QUOTE=gbp;1933985]+1
    That is where the problem is. Folks on the forum doesn't understand that majority of Pre owners are not willing to spend time on doubletwists and songbirds. They love their iPod and their iTunes. All they want is to move the songs to Pre, just like they do with iPod.

    PALM needs to work on educating folks on how to do it without iTunes. Perhaps a video consisting of the steps needed to do will help.

    Or go back to iTunes 8.2, there are plenty available.
    The best SPRINT can do is to staff their tech support with the 8.2 version for helping in-store customers.[/QUOTE]

    This is not sustainable or scalable in the long term...
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