Here's what's important to remember: iTunes is free software provided by Apple to manage the music - as well as movies, TV shows, apps and so on - that plays on an iPod and iPhone. Apple sells iPods and iPhones and they want to keep selling more. If they suddenly opened iTunes - along with all of the content that could be purchased there - to other devices, what incentive would there be for consumers to stick with Apple's devices?
Just to be clear: I'm not saying that Apple's approach is right or wrong. I'm just saying that I understand why Apple would push out a software update that would block a competing device from synchronizing with iTunes. With that said, if I were an Apple shareholder, I'd have serious concerns if Apple didn't take action and just allowed another company to come in and use another Apple product to compromise iPod or iPhone sales.
Palm went out on a limb to sell the idea that the Pre could sync with iTunes. You would think that they had cut some sort of partnership with Apple to make that happen - but, clearly, that wasn't the case. Now, Palm is trying to save face by telling Pre owners that they can continue to sync with iTunes by declining an iTunes software update. Palm spokesperson Lynn Fox tells the WSJ's Digial Daily blog:
Palm's media sync works with the current version of iTunes. If Apple chooses to disable media sync in a future version of iTunes, it will be a direct blow to their users who will be deprived of a seamless synchronization experience. However, people will have options. They can stay with the iTunes version that works to sync their music on their Pre, they can transfer the music via USB, and there are other third-party applications we could consider.
Please. That was a horrible response. This isn't Apple's fault. This is Palm's fault. They marketed a feature of a new phone without having any control over that feature - and now they're trying to make Apple look like the bad guy.
It's not like acting Apple CEO Tim Cook didn't warn Palm. Back in January, Cook went on the record to say:
We approach this business as a software platform business, and so I think we approach it fundamentally different than people that are approaching it only from a hardware point of view. And so, as I’ve said before, we’re very, very confident with where we are competitively. We are watching the landscape. We like competition. As long as they don’t rip off our IP and if they do we’re going to go after anybody that does.
Later, he went further in an exchange with an analyst:
I don’t want to talk about any specific company. I’m just making a general statement that we think competition is good. It makes us all better. And we are ready to suit up and go against anyone. However, we will not stand for having our IP ripped off, and we’ll use whatever weapons that we have at our disposal. I don’t know that I can be clearer than that.
It would be one thing if Palm had cut that deal with Apple and then Apple pulled the rug out on them. But that's not the case here. Palm should man-up already and admit that it blew it on this one. Apple owes an apology to no one.