This is a classic case of shooting oneself on the foot. What Palm started as an offensive against Apple has backfired and Palm has turned from playing the victim to be called the culprit in just over a month. In an embarrassing turn of events for Palm, the USB Implementors Forum, that Palm had approached in relation to Apple's 'improper' use of its Vendor ID, today sided with Apple while accusing Palm of hacking its devices in violation to the USB-IF policies.
Here is the story so far: Palm released its Pre smartphone earlier this year. In order to let Pre owners be able to seamlessly sync songs and playlists between iTunes and their phones, Palm sneakily made use of Apple's Unique USB identifier. With this, they were able to 'fool' iTunes into thinking that Pre is an Apple device and so syncing became possible.
Apple countered this by releasing a series of iTunes updates that helped them to disable the hack. Palm took this matter up to USB Implementors' Forum, a non-profit responsible for promoting and supporting USB devices. Palm's argument has been that Apple has been stiffling competition by their move to disable their hack.
In a response to the letter filed by Palm, USB-IF has shot back at Palm saying that the company's move to spoof Apple's unique vendor ID was not in line with the policies set forth by the forum. The letter written by Traci Donnell, the executive director of USB-IF states, "Under the Policy, Palm may only use the single Vendor ID issued to Palm for Palm’s usage. Usage of any other company’s Vendor ID is specifically precluded. Palm’s expressed intent to use Apple’s Vendor ID appears to violate the attached policy." USB-IF had offered seven days time for Palm to respond to their allegations.
In response to this, Palm has revealed that the decision to move the USB-IF was because Palm sees a need for its customers to have the freedom and choice to use their devices in the way they would like. Derick Mains, Palm's Director of Corporate Communications has said that the company is reviewing the letter and shall be coming up with an appropriate response shortly.
We spoke about the need for openness of the wireless Internet yesterday. Is there a similar need for openness on the hardware side as well or is Apple within its rights to decide what devices can connect to its software?
In my opinion, Apple has every right to protect one of their unique selling points of the
iPhone or iPods. If I was a Palm Pre user, I would be extremely unhappy with Palm as they were the ones who promised iTunes syncing and not Apple. We need companies like Palm to innovate and strive to develop software, which is better than iTunes rather than coming up with a hack and moaning about it, if it stopped working.
Please let us know your views in the comments.
[via The Loop]