Palm's Facepalm

Palm complaint backfires

By Scott McGrew
|  Thursday, Sep 24, 2009  |  Updated 10:45 AM PDT
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Joe Logan on Flickr

Palm is not happy about its facepalm moment, which is demonstrated here.

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Poor Palm - its finding it awfully hard to sync its phones with Apple's iTunes.

Palm originally marketed its Pre cell phone as "iTunes compatible," this despite a lack of any permission from Apple.  The two companies have been playing a game of cat and mouse ever since:  Apple changes some line of code in iTunes and the Pre no longer syncs.  Palm figures out the change and all the sudden your Pre can connect to iTunes again.

Palm apparently got tired of the game and complained to the industry standards group to which both companies belong, the USB-IF.  According to Engadget, Palm claimed Apple violated USB rules "by disallowing certain Vendor IDs -- namely, Palm's -- from using iTunes."

Palm apparently figured the USB standards group would tell Apple to knock it off.  However, in the very same letter, Engadget says Palm declared it would also muck around with USB vendor ID's - it would send a false code down the USB wire to iTunes that says "I'm an iPod" when it really isn't.

A strange strategy, really.  Claim your competitor is misusing an industry standard and then announce you're going to do pretty much the same thing.  Says Engadget: "what we're left here is some muddled grey area and Palm apparently being okay with fudging some data to correct what it sees is an injustice".

Businessweek reports the USB Forum is not cool with that at all, telling Palm "Palm may only use the [the electronic identification] issued to Palm for Palm’s usage.  Usage of another company’s Vendor ID is specifically precluded.”

To make it worse, Businessweek says, the Forum said for its part,  Apple wasn't breaking the rules.  Just Palm.

NBC has contacted Palm for a statement, but has not received one.  Palm did tell Businessweek it is examining the USB-IF's letter.

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