USB-IF Questions Palm: “Explain Your Actions”

Remember the frustration as a child when you reported a sibling’s mischief only to find yourself in deeper trouble? A similar scenario is unfolding for Palm in its ongoing tussle with Apple regarding the Pre and its compatibility with iTunes. Palm has found itself in murky waters after alerting the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) by lodging a complaint against Apple for allegedly breaching the USB-IF Membership Agreement, which aims to ensure interoperability among USB devices.

This complaint stems from Apple’s repeatedattempts to prevent the Palm Pre from syncing with iTunes.

Whether Apple’s actions are justified remains a topic of debate, but the USB-IF seems to believe that Apple is adhering to the rules:

“In the view of the USB-IF, Palm’s allegation (if true) does not establish that Apple is using its Vendor ID (VID) contrary to the USB-IF’s policies… Therefore, under present USB-IF policies, the USB-IF does not consider the alleged use, without more, to be ‘improper.'”

In essence, the USB-IF does not see Apple as breaching the agreement based on Palm’s claims. Interestingly, Palm’s approach to resolving this issue may be causing more harm than good.

Instead of negotiating with Apple or developing a proprietary application for iTunes communication, Palm opted to deceive iTunes into recognizing the Pre by initially presenting it as an iPod manufactured by Palm, and later by using Apple’s USB vendor identifiers to masquerade as an actual Apple iPod.

Shockingly, Palm has been quite transparent about its tactics, even detailing them in its complaint to the USB-IF, stating, “Palm will shortly issue an update of its WebOS operating system that uses Apple’s Vendor ID number for the sole purpose of restoring the Palm media sync functionality.” This openness, however, might not be serving Palm well, as the USB-IF suggested that Palm might be breaching its own agreement:

I attach for your information the USB-IF’s adopted and published policy regarding Vendor Identification Numbers (VIDs). Under the Policy, Palm may only use the single Vendor ID issued to Palm for Palm’s usage. Usage of any other company’s Vendor ID is specifically precluded.

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Ronald is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail, Ronald covers the latest news and updates on products like the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and Apple Watch. His insightful articles help readers stay informed about the ever-evolving world of Apple technology. When he’s not writing, Ronald enjoys exploring new apps and discovering innovative ways to use his Apple devices.