Apple lays the smackdown on some of their own customers
The recent upgrade for iTunes contains a "feature" which basically locks out the Palm Pre. Before, the Pre would show up as an iPod in iTunes, allowing Pre users to sync it with their music an podcast libraries. This was a big selling point for the Pre.
I am not a Pre user, but I think this is a real dick move on Apple's part. People who use the Pre with iTunes, are at some level, customers of Apple. They are likely mac users...and even if they are not, they are at least using iTunes and therefore likely using it to purchase music. Basically, they are pissing off their own customers. Never a good strategy.
I'd be willing to bet that many people who purchased the Pre did so because they are stuck in egregiously long contracts with Sprint. Otherwise, they'd be iPhone users. If I was in this boat, and Apple pulled these kind of shenanigans, I'd be totally turned off to the idea of ever switching to the iPhone when my Sprint contract expired. Who wants to support a company who treats their customers like this?
That Apple would take such a drastic, dick measure indicates to me that they think the Palm Pre is a real threat to their smartphone business. They are scared of it, and have reacted out of fear. If I was them I'd a have stuck with their general, conceited, "you can't be serious" attitude towards competition. They should feel confident that their product is superior to any other smartphone, which it is. By taking such drastic action against the Pre, they have legitimized the Pre as a competitor in the mind of the marketplace.
Competition is good. It breeds innovation and keeps prices in check. The way to gain the competitive edge is not to take rash, semi-monopolistic measures against competitors, but to beat them fair and square with a quality product. I think Apple needs to hear it from customers, whether they use the Pre or not, that we don't appreciate this Microsoft-like behavior.
Apparently, Palm released an update to their software which once again allows it to sync with iTunes. It remains to be seen how Apple will react to this.
Amazon, like a thief in the night
In a somewhat ironic move, Amazon took the unprecedented step of remotely deleting some of George Orwell's books from all Amazon Kindle devices of customers who had paid for them. Apparently, they were added to the Amazon store by a source who did not have the rights to them.
Sure, Amazon did refund the customer's money, but there are two very disturbing elements to this story. First, the privacy issue. Most customers were unaware that Amazon had the right and the means to remotely delete content from the Kindle. This is an invasion of privacy and it raises questions as to what else Amazon is doing remotely. Recording customer behavior? Monitoring other content users put on their Kindle?
Amazon swears up and down they will never do this again. But I think there needs to be independent action (seems like a great case for the EFF). There should be updates to the contract between manufacturer and the user, and updates to the software that will prevent any access to the device that the user does not explicitly authorize.
The other issue is, why is Amazon not vetting the content they are selling in their store? The issue here is between this "unauthorized" source and Amazon. The customers are unwitting participants in this dilemma, and end up getting the raw end of the deal. Amazon should pursue and work out the issue with the source.