Apple Blocks Users of Pre Smartphones from Its iTunes Store as Mobile Wars Intensify

The smartphone market is one of the most competitive in the very competitive world of telecommunications. Anyone who doubts that should read the multitude of blog posts and news articles about Apple's decision to block users of Palm Inc.'s Pre smartphone — and other non-Apple products — from using its iTunes software to download music and other media files from its iTunes Store.

The Pre is Palm's answer to Apple's iPhone – a multi-purpose smartphone with a touch-screen interface. One of the Pre's selling points was its ability to run the iTunes software. Palm spokeswoman Leslie Letts told the Associated Press that Apple's move is a "direct blow to [Pre] users, who will be deprived of a seamless synchronization experience." For a workaround, she noted, Pre owners can stick to the older version of iTunes, move music from computers to a Pre with a USB cable or consider third-party music applications.

As Knowledge at Wharton noted in a recent article — "As Smartphones Proliferate, Will One Company Emerge as the Clear Market Winner? — consumers usually reap benefits when competition gets fierce. Though Pre users who feel compelled to use the iTunes Store may not see this particular development as a benefit, the fact remains that the smartphone marketplace is full of increasingly clever devices offered at steadily falling prices.