The Pre-Breaking iTunes 8.2.1 Update

palm-preI originally published these thoughts in Seth Godin’s Triiibes community. I’m fleshing it out a tad for this post.

It is a well-known fact that John Rubinstein headed up the development of the original iPod and later took charge of the spun-out iPod division. He later left Apple to retire on some beach in Mexico where he was eventually hunted down by Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners. Roger made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and now we see Rubinstein leading the formerly beleaguered Palm. Rubinstein did NOT jump straight to Palm from Apple as has been reported on many sites.

This background, and not to mention the legions of Apple developers that moved to Palm (including a friend of mine), puts no doubt in anyone’s mind that inside knowledge of how to interface with iTunes came to Palm. Even so, they could have white-roomed it and figured it out on their own. I mean, how hard could this be?

With the PR frenzy leading up to the Pre’s release, it was noted that the Pre would natively synch with iTunes (and iPhoto), allowing you to sync anything that wasn’t DRM’d. At first, my opinion was that any device should have unfettered access to the non-DRM part of an iTunes library. However, the more I learned of the situation, the more my views have changed.

Consider this:

  • There is an API for iTunes (doubleTwist is using this successfully and many others)
  • Palm is blurring the support lines (if there is a synch problem, who is the customer going to call)
  • If Apple lets Palm do this, everybody else will assume it as a right

I’m glad to see Apple finally move on blocking Palm. They should have done it a lot earlier. Also, I do not see this as being anti-competitive on Apple’s part, they do not have a monopoly on music catalog software (Songbird, anyone?). I see it more of inline with a DMCA violation on Palm’s part (though I know this is not the case).

What’s your take?

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