iPod imitator vanishes amidst Apple legal pressure

Last week MacCentral brought readers news of pBop, an MP3 software application aimed at users of Microsoft Pocket PC-based PDAs that looked amazingly like Apple's iPod. Since our report ran, the software's developers, StarBrite Solutions, have pulled pBop from distribution completely.

"Due to legal pressure from Apple we are no longer able to distribute this application," says a notice on the Web site's homepage. "Sorry for any inconvenience."

pBop started its brief life only a few weeks ago as "pPod." It was a shareware MP3 player for Pocket PC PDAs that sported remarkably similar interface elements to an Apple iPod, complete with scroll wheel, touch buttons and menu-driven interface. Within a couple of weeks, StarBrite Ltd. had gotten Apple's legal attention -- StarBrite spokesman Ryan Kelly told MacCentral that "Apple felt pPod was being 'passed off' as an Apple iPod."

StarBrite changed pPod's name to pBop and made some interface changes to the software, moving the touch-buttons to the lower part of the interface, in-between the menu and the scrollwheel. The company also disclaimed any connection to Apple on its Web site and directed visitors interested in an iPod to Apple's Web site instead.

Alas, the resemblance to the iPod was still too close for Apple's comfort. Since our last report, StarBrite pulled pBop from circulation.

Representatives from Apple and StarBrite were not immediately available for comment as MacCentral posted this article.

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