Palm Attacks Apple via USB

So Palm has fixed iTunes syncing on the Palm Pre, shortly after Apple disabled it in the latest software update. No harm no foul, right? If only it were so simple.

palm pre release

Turns out Palm may be breaking the rules. According to the USB Implementers Forum, when you apply for a USB vendor ID, you sign a form that explicitly states:

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

So what? Well the Palm Pre pretends to be an Apple device to communicate with iTunes. The Palm Pre only syncs effortlessly with Apple's flagship software iTunes by tricking the software into thinking it's an iPod. The Palm USB interface uses Apple's Vendor Id and the Product Id for a specific iPod model when communicating with iTunes.

Why would Palm be so brazen in violating the rules? Here's why: According to Palm, Apple itself broke the USB rules first.

According to Palm 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."

That member Palm is calling out would be Apple. The idea is that Apple is misusing and abusing the vendor ID number by restricting the actions of iTunes via the USB port based on this number.

Did we hear an opening salvo? Let the war begin!

Palm Pre has a slide out keyboard and a touch screen interface capable of swipes, pinches, and other gestures similar to the iPhone.

Apple was recently awarded a far-reaching patent titled "Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics." The patent was thought to possibly be the first step in a legal battle between Apple and Palm over the Pre.