You seem to think that it is Apples responsibility to invest in, design, test, and supply software that works with other vendors hardware when that hardware competes directly with Apple? I'm sorry, but what is your impression of 'compete'?
I apologize if this comes off sounding like an ass, because that is not my intent. I'm just flabbergasted that anyone is defending Palm on this issue. They violated a very basic standard. Normally folks on /. are all over any violation of standard because we all understand the need and importance of them. I have to think that the individuals dislike of Apple is clouding an otherwise very clear cut case.
The we have the 'anti-competitive' argument, except in this case, there is none. The only possible inconvenience to the end user in the worst possible scenario is that they have two windows open. One to purchase their music, and another to sync their device. That is not a huge burden on the consumer. You will simply have to launch a second app to sync your phone. The issue here is that Palm refuses to write their own software, or if they desire full integration into iTunes, license a plugin. Instead they chose to violate USB standards and take a very cheap and easy way out.
The XML file and it's use to sync music with iTunes is very well documented and understood, even by the open source community. There is absolutely nothing preventing Palm from syncing their data just like everyone else. There is no anti-competitive stance here. Palm doesn't deserve special treatment. Apple doesn't either. They don't demand that their music devices sync with Windows Media Player. It would be unreasonable to expect that. They can write their own solution and many have already done so. Palm should be treated no differently.
Microsoft was slapped with an anti-competitive label because they currently have market dominance, and they threatened to remove the license to distribute that OS if hardware vendors didn't also bundle Internet Explorer. This is a classic case of using market dominance to unfair advantage. It would have forced consumers to use a different OS if the vendor didn't capitulate to Microsoft's demands.
In this case, Apple is not forcing users to use iTunes. Don't like it? Dump iTunes.app it in the trash. There are numerous online music sources to buy from. They are not forcing users to use iPhones/iPods. There are numerous applications and hardware vendors that have written their own solutions. Alternately, license plugins to allow them to sync natively in iTunes. Last but not least, they are not locking Palm out of iTunes. Users can still access the iTunes store using the interface designed for it by Apple, and they can still sync those purchases with a Palm device should Palm choose to write one.
There is no anti-competitive behavior here. There is no undue burden placed on the consumer except for the burden placed there by Palm themselves.