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And not just because Asia is seemingly left out from the next Palm Pre push (based on Palm’s notify me form).

They reinstated iTunes syncing. On some level, it makes sense – iTunes is the most widely used software of its kind. And on some other deeper, saner level, it’s completely nutty. Why?

  • Apple has every intention and little to lose in engaging in a cat-and-mouse game with Palm. Advising Pre users not to update iTunes regularly will look bad on Palm. Making sycning spotty will look bad on Palm. Palm has little resources to engage in a legal suit with Apple. Palm is needlessly putting their fate in Apple’s hands.
  • Even if Apple is okay with this, bolstering iTunes makes no sense. iTunes is slow and bloated, and widely used because of iPods, iTunes, and the Store. iTunes’ documented XML database files make syncing playlists and database outside of iTunes easy to program. By making it easy for users to use iTunes, iTunes’ entrenchment is aided by Palm’s short-sightedness.
  • As said, iTunes is slow and bloated. Personally, I see it as a competitive advantage if Palm comes up with something better than that (Palm Desktop ain’t better). Requiring users to open a massive, bloated app to sync their music to their Pre’s out of the box is increadibly stupid.
  • Update: Turns out Palm lawyers may not have thought this through: Eugenia Loli-Quero highlights a potential legal pitfall and definite ethical failure on Palm’s part (she also highlights a potential alternative).

    Personally, even if using iTunes in that way (spoofing as an Apple product) was completely legal and ethical, and even if developing any sort of reasonable alternative will cost more in R&D than the rest of Palm Pre – it’s just bad business. iTunes has an overwhelming market share, but it isn’t invincible. Entrenching it further by making it the easiest syncing tool is most stupid.

    Update II: Even Google, who have one of theirs on the Apple board, didn’t believe in entrenching Apple’s position in the online retail sales market. Instead, they integrated Amazon’s music store in Android. Maybe Palm should invest in a strategist or two.

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