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Apple Launches iTunes 9.0.2…and Palm Pres Can’t Sync Again

The tit-for-tat battle between Palm and Apple over iTunes syncing doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. When Palm launched the Palm Pre smartphone earlier this year on Sprint, one of the advertised features was that it could sync with Apple’s popular iTunes software just like an iPod…and it did so essentially by tricking iTunes into believing the Pre was, in fact, an iPod. Apple flatly noted that third-party syncing solutions aren’t supported and, sure enough, the first iTunes update after the launch of the Palm Pre magically broke the Pre’s synchronization feature.

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The companies have since been battling back and forth, with Palm issuing new workarounds to re-enable iTunes syncing for the Palm Pre, then Apple breaking it again in the next iTunes update. Now with Apple’s iTunes 9.0.2, Cupertino again has the upper hand, and Pre owners who upgrade their copy of iTunes won’t be able to sync. The move comes less than a month after Palm most-recently re-enabled iTunes syncing in webOS 1.2.1.

Palm has attempted to take its case to the USB Implementer’s Forum, arguing that Apple’s blocking of the Palm Pre amounted to a violation of the company’s membership agreement that enables them to use USB technology. However, the USB-IF actually sided with Apple, saying that Apple using its own vendor ID to identify its own products doesn’t seem to be in violation of any portion of the USB-IF membership agreement. The forum went one step further, saying that one member’s use of another member’s vendor ID—which is exactly what Palm is doing with Apple’s ID—is prohibited.

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