Pre-Posterous: Apple's Latest Anti-Consumer Move

Many people cheered Apple's recent decision to start selling tracks at iTunes without the digital rights management software that hindered users' ability to transfer tracks purchased at iTunes to portable devices other than iPods.

But Apple took a big step backwards this week with its high-handed move to prevent Palm Pre users from easily using iTunes to manage media. Until Wednesday, users of the Pre could use iTunes to sync their files. But the latest version of iTunes, 8.2.1, disables this Pre feature.

If Apple wants to encourage people to purchase the iPhone, there are better ways than by engaging in this kind of consumer-unfriendly tactic. The company could, for instance, not renew its exclusive deal with AT&T -- a deal that prevents users who have plans with other wireless carriers from purchasing iPhones.

Besides, even with this latest software, Pre users will still be able to transfer their iTunes files to the device, though not as seamlessly. Palm itself suggested that people can transfer music through a USB. Also, people can still use older iTunes software.



It's also possible -- maybe even likely -- that Pre users will simply turn to other programs to manage music files. And if they're going to stop using iTunes for music management, they might well also stop using it to make purchases. After all, these days users can purchase DRM-free tracks at Amazon, Wal-Mart and other online stores.

The Federal Communications Commission is already investigating whether deals between wireless carriers and handset manufacturers -- like the AT&T/iPhone arrangement -- are anticompetitive. This latest move gives consumer advocates one more reason to complain about the company.

7 comments about "Pre-Posterous: Apple's Latest Anti-Consumer Move".
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  1. Roger Pavane from Start-up Consultant to WorldMedia2U,, Social-Mall,Talkster, Moxie Interactive, July 16, 2009 at 5:13 p.m.

    I believe at this point Apple needs to decide if its business is selling iPhones or music/content on iTunes. You cant own both.

    This could be Microsoft "like" litigation 2.0.

    Locking devices to a particular platform may in fact be anti-competitive. Bottom line is if operators have to rely on devices to attract and keep customers something is very wrong here. Carriers should in fact concentrate on their networks, coverage service and features to compete. Let consumers break free and buy whatever device they want and loose the contracts. This day will come and very soon. Consumers should decide on which operator network they want to use and what device works best for them.

  2. Denny Browning from The Wordsmith, July 16, 2009 at 5:17 p.m.

    Why should Apple just allow this kind of activity? Why isn't Palm being called on the carpet for engineering their phones to masquerade as an iPod/iPhone so it could leech off of iTunes and Apple's products? I think it was a very questionable activity for a major company like Palm to's more like something that you would expect from the hacker underground to get a phone to look like an iPod.

  3. Jonathan McEwan from MediaPost, July 16, 2009 at 5:38 p.m.

    I agree with Mr. Browning. Apple iTunes is for Apple products. The fact that you can now share your music with more people and play it on any device is cool. If you want the simplicity Apple's integration offers at its best, buy a MacBook and an iPhone. There's nothing easier. And there's nothing preventing Palm users from getting music from the iTunes store the same way everyone else who doesn't own Apple devices gets it. The hard-wired USB way.

  4. Mark Ferguson from Sun Belt Conference, July 16, 2009 at 5:48 p.m.

    Apple has never allowed any third-party device to natively work with iTunes. They have always been firm that they will not support other devices connecting to iTunes. Their business is not selling music nor is it selling operating systems or software.

    They are a device manufacturer and the side businesses of operating systems, software and now music are only a part of their business to the degree they advance the core business of computer and device sales. The only reason a Win version of iTunes exists is to increase the market for iPods.

    When word first leaked that Palm had found a way to trick iTunes into believing the Pre was an iPod anyone watching the company knew it wouldn't last. The sale of music and apps and the use of the simple iTunes software an interface isn't to generate music and app revenue but to drive the sale of iPods, iPhones, and to create interest in the sale of Macs.

    If Apple were basing its business on music sales, it would be a stupid decision but that's not their business.

  5. Frances Foley, July 16, 2009 at 9 p.m.

    A Blackberry doesn't sync with iTunes, nor does Windows Mobile. Try syncing an iPod with Windows or an Xbox with a Playstation. Palm tried a cheap shortcut and Apple has halfheartedly blocked it. A Pre user simply can forego the update to the latest version of iTunes or do another workaround. Apple created iTunes as a delivery system for its own devices. They aren't set up to profit from content, but to promote their hardware. Why should they support the sales of competing hardware? And as far as their arrangements with carriers, well that's a situation for Apple to resolve. By the way, "jailbreaking" refers to putting non-approved applications on a device. An "unlocked" phone is one that is non-proprietary and will work on any carrier, which exists sometimes more in theory than practice. It is usually done at the end of the contract when the subsidy has been covered. In the case of the iPhone, a few hackers have unlocked it illegally just for bragging rights because there's not much advantage in it. For technology reasons, the iPhone will not work on Sprint, Nextel or Verizon, so the only choice for an unlocked iPhone is T-Mobile which has little 3G coverage and fewer features such as visual voice mail.

  6. David Thurman from Aussie Rescue of Illinois, July 20, 2009 at 9:02 a.m.

    Roger has the best reason for Apple to stop gaming people.

    Denny, many browsers claim to be a Moz browser when mobile, should we start punishing them, since most web sites aren't even setup for a mobi visitor?

    Apple could increase it's sales of music if they would allow a more seamless player/sync option.

    Wow, just a few short years ago MS was beaten up for monopolistic ways, but yet Apple is considered above the law. Time for some even enforced business rules. I refuse to have an iPhone, too restrictive, no multitask (becasue I don't know better, Steve does), give me a HTC/WinMo phone any day (and I am a 15 year+ Mac desktop user)

  7. Howard Zoss from Zig Marketing, July 29, 2009 at 4:22 p.m.

    If you have ever had a Palm ... it isn't going to last anyway ... I think it is time to recognize that Apple pretty much drives all the creativity in this space and should do what it wants ... Palm, MS, the rest of the Yahoo's (pun intended) should get a life and start CREATING value for the consumer

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