Apple Ping-ed off as no deal in place to connect with Facebook

3 Sep 2010

The world’s biggest music community, iTunes’ 160 million users, cannot connect with the world’s biggest social networking community, Facebook’s 500 million users, because neither Apple nor Facebook have managed to sort out the legals.

It is understood that Facebook has denied Apple’s new Ping social music system to its applications programming interfaces (APIs) which would have allowed an iTunes Ping user to search for and connect with their Facebook friends.

Why has Facebook blocked Apple from its APIs? On the one hand, it makes you wonder what Facebook had been planning on the music front and maybe the arrival of Ping was far from welcome?

On the other hand, you also wonder what Apple wanted from the deal. Did it want a disproportionate amount of access to the social network than Facebook was prepared to allow?

Onerous terms?

Either way, Facebook and Apple could not come to terms and Apple’s social offering currently doesn’t connect with the biggest social network on the planet.

But Apple is a wildly successful company with an intensely loyal user base. The move could only entrench Ping users who will find ways to connect with or without Facebook. Some 160 million music lovers is a community you do not leave outside the door.

So what are the reasons? Normally, Facebook ensures its access is open and does not require permission, if anything the more entities that come to the party, the merrier. In fact, Sonia Flynn, the director of Facebook’s user operations in Dublin, told Siliconrepublic that more developers are welcome and that 1 million developers and entrepreneurs from 180 countries are engaging with Facebook

At the launch of Ping earlier this week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs complained of onerous terms preventing the deal going ahead and even at the 11th hour it seemed a deal was in place with Apple, including Facebook connectivity in its presentation.

In all likelihood, the situation will be resolved. It has to be. The 160 million music lovers – many of whom are already on Facebook – would love nothing more than to recommend downloads to their friends.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years