Apple iPhone VS Palm Pre

Apple Inc. received approval from an industry group to block rival Palm Inc.'s Pre phone from connecting with iTunes software.

The USB Implementers Forum has approved Apple (AAPL) modifying its iTunes desktop software so that the rival Palm (PALM) Pre is unable to synchronize with it.

At its launch in June this year, the Pre allowed users to transfer music and video to and from their PC or Mac with iTunes. It became the first non-Apple device that could directly connect to iTunes and it did so by essentially pretending to be an iPod or iPhone.

Palm touted this function as a method for transferring multimedia files onto this device.

Apple then crippled that function by updating its software. Palm then workaround the restriction by updating the Pre's software so that when it was connected to a computer's USB port it gave out a hardware vendor code that Apple was assigned by the USB Implementers Forum, an industry standards group.

iTunes would then see the Pre as an Apple device and allow users to transfer content to it. The only restriction with this method was the Pre does not work with the most recent version of iTunes.

As the maker of a rival smartphone that also syncs with iTunes, Apple has modified this desktop software to block access by Palm's smartphone.

The maker of the iPhone then turned to the USB Implementers Forum for support, and the industry group came out in favor of Apple. The Pre had been using the USB hardware vendor code assigned by this trade group to the iPhone to sync with iTunes.

The USB Implementers Forum has informed Palm that modifying the Pre's software to re-enable iTunes synchronization is a violation of the industry group's rules.

Palm has not yet responded to this warning, but has said in the past that iTunes users deserve a seamless synchronization experience.