Many Apple users worldwide have spent some time scratching their heads over the new iTunes feature called Ping. Apple's so-called "social network for music" is supposed to let users follow artists and bands, as well as find out what their friends are listening to. However, there's no way to connect with friends, other than spamming them with email, because despite the fact that Facebook interconnectivity is still - up to this moment
- advertised on Apple's site, Ping still doesn't have it. Steve Jobs blames Facebook, claiming they wanted too much.
In an interview by Kara Swisher at All Things D
, Jobs says Apple was in talks with Facebook over Ping, but the two companies were unable to come to an agreement. He was quoted as saying Facebook wanted "onerous terms that we could not agree to." When Swisher asked what the hangup was, Jobs declined to elaborate. She pressed him on whether iTunes could support Facebook Connect to allow sharing between the two platforms. The Apple CEO was noncommittal. 'We could, I guess,' he shrugged.
It seems pretty clear that the hooks were in for Facebook support, and that they were only pulled at the very last minute when negotiations broke down, as Facebook connectivity was touted on slides during Steve Jobs's presentation yesterday. The tutorial video on Ping
promises that "once you get set up, you can find your Facebook friends who have Ping profiles," and the Ping page on Apple's website
says you can "find even more music fans with a quick search, by sending email invites, or by connecting to your Facebook account." And according to several Cult of Mac readers
, the Facebook Connect button appeared on Ping yesterday, though it didn't allow them to find any friends.
Steve Jobs bragged about the "160 million credit cards" Apple has on file through iTunes, so maybe he's trying to make sure he doesn't have to share too much of the booty with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. Whatever the cause, it'd be surprising if Apple remains aloof much longer. Having a Ping page right now is like having a fax machine in the early 70s: useless unless you can find someone else who has one. Whether Jobs likes it or not, Facebook and other social media platforms like Twitter are how people find each other these days.