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Apple Needs to Grow Up

Posted by susabelle at 6:27 AM on July 16, 2009

appleApple has done its best to thwart the running of iTunes syncing on the Palm Pre this morning.  There will likely be a workaround within a few days, but in the long run, what the heck is Apple thinking?

We can’t use iTunes syncing unless it is on an Apple device?  What kind of logic is that?  Those of us using the FREE iTunes software on our computers (that may or may not be Macs, mine isn’t) use it for a reason.  We may buy music through iTunes, schedule podcast downloading, and use it to keep our (sometimes) extensive music libraries in one place.  I currently sync my iTunes purchases and downloads through a Dell computer.  I also have a Sony Ericcson Walman phone, and I’d love to be able to sync a few things there, as well, but that’s not possible because Apple locks it out.  I happen to have a high-end iPod that I sync everything to, but not everyone can afford that, or may have other reasons for using different smart phones/devices for their syncing. I know many companies that provide Blackberries or Palm services to their employees, who should then be able to take advantage of the availability of syncing with products they are already using, like iTunes.

What is it to Apple whether or not the person syncing their iTunes library to a device is using an iPod or another branded electronic device?  I realize they would prefer that everyone own an iPod, Touch, or iPhone.  It’s the same as Kelloggs wishing we all ate Special K for breakfast instead of Cheerios or a store brand of Lucky Charms.  But in the big picture, is it really worth Apple’s reputation  to be so heavy-handed about denying use of their products with anything but their own proprietary brand of portable player?  I know it certainly does not endear me to Apple, or their products, and leaves a pretty bad taste in my mouth.

Many of these walled garden attitudes need to go the way of the dinosaur, in my opinion.

7 Comments

  1. From Nolan at 8:31 am on July 16, 2009

    It is interesting that iTunes only supports syncing from Apple products. A sync API can’t be that hard. More PMP’s that sync with iTunes the more tracks they will purchase from iTunes. Duh! My brother actually wrote a VB script to do it for him. Grabbed a playlist and such from iTunes. Worked pretty well. Are you reading this Gregg? Finish it up!
    As for the Pre, I’m not sure the wisdom of touting a feature based on a hack of someone elses software. I would guess they did it purely to create a PR nightmare for Apple and show that Apple is not friendly. Still they did a disservice to their own customers by advertising something they very well knew would soon be broken. Their device lied in order to sync. Hard to be mad at Apple for making sure a liar can’t get in.

  2. From Mario at 8:47 am on July 16, 2009

    I agree that iTunes should be more open but it’s 100% Palm at fault here. If they wanted to sync with iTunes they should have worked out a licensing agreement with Apple. It’s Apple’s software and it’s connected to Apple’s music store and like it or not Apple decides if it’s going to let other devises sync with it.

  3. From John Knights at 3:24 pm on July 16, 2009

    So Apple pour a ton of investment into a product that they give away for free (let us not forget that) and people can use this on their PC or Mac with no obligation to buy any hardware (iPod, iPhone) from Apple. They are free to use this software simply to listen / view media on their computer.

    A competitor decides that they are going to short-cut investment in their own product by producing a hack that kind of works (obviously it renders the App Store useless) then go out like a cocky schoolkid and boast that they have out-foxed a competitor who’s product they are relying on as a major selling point.

    iTunes is free because Apple uses it to sell hardware (and media of course, but it’s the hardware that brings the bacon home). I cannot see how anybody can reasonably accuse them of anything other than commercial prudence for this action.

    Palm, RIM and Nokia etc. really need to make the effort to understand the marketplace, their users and their needs and come out fighting. Hacking a competitor’s product is incredibly lame and the only losers are the people who invested their money into a piece of equipment only to have a major feature (rightfully) taken away from them.

  4. From John Knights at 3:27 pm on July 16, 2009

    Oh and the cereal analogy? Not a great one.

    If Kelloggs gave away a bowl and spoon to everybody who bought their cereal then took them away when we were found to be eating a competitors product? Then you’d be a little more on par with this situation.

  5. From Mitch at 4:25 pm on July 16, 2009

    This is the stupidest article I’ve ever read. Why would Apple ever make a business decision to have 3rd party devices syncing with iTunes? Revenue generated by iTunes is far less than the income from portable music players and iPhones. The PalmPre is a direct competitor to the iPhone.

    Secondly, Apple’s exclusive mentality is nothing compared to that of other companies such as Microsoft. We simply need to drop “IE Microsoft browser war” and need not discuss anything else.

  6. From Brandon Black at 7:54 pm on July 16, 2009

    I think someone (the government?) should sue Apple over this for anti-competitive practices. In my opinion, this is far worse that what Microsoft was sued over regarding Internet Explorer or Windows Media Player. In the Microsoft law suits, they were sued merely for making IE and WMP the default programs on every Windows OS and including them with every copy they shipped. Apple’s decision here is definitely a huge step above that and a ton more aggressive. Apple’s market share in the MP3/portable music world could easily be used against them in a case that asserts they are using their market strength to squash competition.

  7. From John Knights at 12:11 am on July 17, 2009

    Brandon, you are misinformed. MS were brought to court for anti-competitive practices. For bullying software companies who were producing rival products and doing their utmost to stamp these people out, mostly by starving them of revenue (see: netscape who did fantastic work on web browsers and internet standards but were squashed). They were ordered to stop this and also to open up features of Windows that their own products were taking advantage of but where shut doors to competitors.

    It is we, the consumers, who won the day and it forced MS to compete with other developers and improved the quality of their own product greatly. Is the state of IE not largely due to Firefox’s success? Left to their own devices with no competition MS do not innovate so how can this be a bad thing?

    The difference with Apple is that they are not stopping other people developing their own software and competing on a fair and level playing field (they are very, very open with development, the App Store is testimony to this). All they are doing is preventing competitors from using hacks to utilise their software for purposes that it was not designed.