It’s going to be a very busy couple of weeks in mobile land. This week, Palm finally ships the Pre. We’ll finally see if it lives up to the hype. And then next week, Apple will have their World Wide Developer Conference, with many and varied rumors of new devices.
The most interesting news, though, going into this Mobile June Extravaganza is the announcement that the Palm Pre syncs with iTunes (it excludes DRM protected media and applications). The big question and speculation of course is: 1) Is Apple giving Palm permission? and 2) If not, when will Apple shut down Palm’s media sync?
This “relationship” is only heightened by the two companies. Palm’s been poaching Apple developers, precipitated by former Apple and now Palm executive Jonathan Rubenstein, the brains behind the iPod and revitalized Mac. Apple’s Tim Cook, current COO, has publicly said, “We’re going to go after anybody” who rips off Apple’s technology. “We’ll use whatever weapons we have at our disposal.” (quote from Fortune Magazine, June 8, 2009, p88)
To say the least, the relationship is full of animosity.
Sure sounds like Palm is “hacking” Apple’s iTunes. After all, why would Apple help the company they are trying to simultaneously ignore/kill? If so, I would expect a “kill switch” built into an update of iTunes in the near future.
Given all this, though, I’d be surprised if Palm is doing this without permission. Palm’s making a big deal out of the iTunes media sync, as they should. And would you make a big deal out of a major feature that could be ended at any time? No way.
My guess is there’s a ghost in the room. With the Democrats in power, don’t be surprised if there’s more discussion of anti-trust issues. Apple, with close to 90% market share with iTunes and the iPod, has got to be thinking about protecting its back side. No better way to do that than let a competitor or two sync with your system.
And with Apple’s public comments about Palm, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is Apple’s hubris allowing this relationship to happen. After all, why should Apple worry about Palm syncing if, according to Apple, Palm will not be around to take advantage?
Interesting points. I would add that from Apple’s point of view, it is better for Pre users to be using iTunes in Mac or Windows as their music manager than an alternative. Even though Pre was demoed downloading to the phone from Amazon’s media store, with iTunes media sync and now totally DRM-free downloads, Pre users can use iTunes Store to buy media as well and synch to their Pre.