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Palm Pre re-re-introduces iTunes synchronization

Your move Apple, oh wait - no!

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You've got to hand it to Palm, it's made itself one tenacious mole for Apple to whack. The company's long-running fight to keep the Palm Pre compatible with iTunes entered yet another round of assured futility over the weekend.

This Saturday, Palm released version 1.2.1 of WebOS, which "resolves an issue preventing media sync from working with the latest version of iTunes (9.0.1)". It also fixes Exchange 2007 compatibility and some security issues, but that's not really the point of the rollout.

Palm has been playing this game of hide-and-seek with Apple since the Pre first shipped in June. At first the smartphone synched up nicely with iTunes by masquerading as an iPod. A few weeks later, Apple blocked the feature with iTunes 8.2.1.

Palm then came back with new firmware that restored iTunes compatibility - until Apple quashed it once again.

The company also tried to get the USB Implementers Forum to rule that Apple was unfairly locking the Pre out of iTunes, but the industry group sided with Apple's position instead.

When Palm released webOS 1.2 without iTunes syncing, we thought perhaps the company had given up. But it seems Palm was just busy finding a work-around to Apple's proprietary locks.

Barring some unforeseen and extremely unlikely change of heart for Apple, it's only a matter of time before the Pre's compatibility with iTunes is once again shut down. It's a losing battle to be sure.

Calls to Palm for an explanation of their Pre-syncing strategy were not returned.

The latest update continues to call into question whether Palm's persistence is actually for the benefit of Pre owners or simply a stunt to keep the smartphone in the news. Adding a feature that's sure to disappear in a couple weeks is only frustrating and confusing to customers. So who's winning here with the updates?

Palm supposedly has enough problems on its plate right now to be wasting time being a gadfly to iTunes software developers. ®

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