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Palm Reports Apple to USB Compliance Organization Over iTunes Syncing Issues

In a statement made to Digital Daily yesterday, Palm acknowledges firing yet another salvo in the ongoing dispute between Apple and Palm over the Palm Pre's ability to sync iTunes media by emulating an iPod, claiming that it has reported Apple to the USB Implementers Forum for improper use of the Vendor ID used to identify devices using the USB interface.

"Palm has released webOS 1.1, which, along with offering more robust EAS support for business users, re-enables Palm media sync," said company spokesperson Lynn Fox. "Palm believes that openness and interoperability offer better experiences for users by allowing them the freedom to use the content they own without interference across devices and services, so on behalf of consumers, we have notified the USB Implementers Forum of what we believe is improper use of the Vendor ID number by another member."

Palm's webOS 1.1 update issued yesterday restores the syncing connectivity broken by Apple last week with the release of iTunes 8.2.1.

As PreCentral points out, the move is a bold statement by Palm given the company's apparent misuse of Apple's USB Vendor ID in order to permit iTunes media syncing.

I just plugged my 1.1 Pre into my Mac in Media Sync mode and sure enough, it's identifying itself with an Apple USB Vendor ID:

Product ID: 0x8002
Vendor ID: 0x05ac (Apple Inc.)
Version: 0.16
Manufacturer: Palm Inc.

Such use of another manufacturer's Vendor ID is "strictly prohibited" by the USB Implementers Forum:

When you apply for a USB Vendor ID, you sign a form that explicitly states that:

"Unauthorized use of assigned or unassigned USB Vendor ID Numbers and associated Product ID Numbers are strictly prohibited."

Based on Palm's actions, it appears that the company believes that Apple's refusal to allow open access to iTunes via USB is a severe enough violation of the relatively open nature of the USB standards that it is willing to violate standards itself in order to work around Apple's restrictions.

We can make a guess: USB being a relatively open (albeit opt-in) 'standard,' either Palm thinks it's improper for iTunes to only allow connectivity with certain Vendor IDs. Since they feel they're in the right there, I guess they don't mind wading into the gray area of spoofing another company's USB Vendor ID.



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