updated 09:55 am EDT, Wed September 23, 2009
May prevent future Pre sync support
By means of an official letter, the USB Implementers Forum has criticized Palm for using a workaround to sync the Pre with Apple's iTunes software. The letter is in response to an earlier complaint from Palm, which accuses Apple of violating its USB-IF membership agreement by deliberately blocking third-party devices through iTunes updates. The updates exploit USB Vendor ID numbers, according to Palm, in a way that breaks the "letter and spirit" of USB-IF terms.
The USB-IF disagrees, and suggests that even if there is truth in Palm's view, it "does not establish that Apple is using its Vendor ID (VID) contrary to the USB-IF's policies." The industry group argues moreover that Palm has expressed a willingness of its own to violate terms, by mentioning that it will "shortly issue an update of its WebOS operating system that uses Apple's Vendor ID number for the sole purpose of restoring the Palm media sync functionality." Palm is only allowed to use the Vendor ID it has been assigned, the USB-IF says.
"Please clarify Palm's intent and respond to this potential violation within seven days," the group's letter adds.
If Palm is unable to persuade the USB-IF, the decision could have significant ramifications for the Pre and any future WebOS phones. The ability to sync with iTunes has been a selling point, bringing some of the convenience enjoyed by the iPhone to other devices.