At yesterday’s big Apple event that was live streamed to only those people lucky enough to own a Mac, iPhone or iPad one of the big announcements was the launch of the company’s music social network called Ping (thank gawd they didn’t go with iPing). One of the features that was a high point of Ping was that you could connect to your Facebook account.
A lot of press followed talking about how this was going to change the whole social network or how Ping was going to be a dud. Then we started hearing whispers that not all may be good between Apple and Facebook as some people suddenly found the option to connect to Facebook had disappeared.
Then Kara Swisher let us all know that the option had been removed because of what Steve Jobs referred to as onerous terms
When I asked Jobs about that, he said Apple had indeed held talks with Facebook about a variety of unspecified partnerships related to Ping, but the discussions went nowhere.
The reason, according to Jobs: Facebook wanted “onerous terms that we could not agree to,” related to connecting with Facebook friends on Ping.
For those who are struck by the word, the definition of onerous,according to an online dictionary: “Involving an amount of effort and difficulty that is oppressively burdensome; Involving heavy obligations.”
Jobs did not elaborate on those troublesome terms and also would not say if Ping would incorporate connecting with Facebook or even using Facebook Connect–which would make it much easier to find friends to share music with.
So what was suppose to be a primary source of connecting with people within Ping was suddenly no longer available and much was made of that change. As Om Malik wrote this morning after waking up to find that the Facebook to Ping connection that he had been early enough to enable wasn’t working.
I’m hoping that the Facebook Connect problems are temporary and a glitch. Otherwise, Ping would really suck and the big losers in this game of corporate one-upmanship are the consumers, who probably — like me– just want recommendations from our friends, then buy those tunes. As a long-time customer of Apple and its iTunes store, I’m severely disappointed that I can’t bring my pre-configured social graph to Ping. I hope Apple and Facebook both come to an agreement and kiss and make-up.
So what caused this tiff between the two companies?
Well according to Kara Swisher in a later post it all boiled down to Apple being Apple and Facebook saying that the new music social network was breaking Facebook’s TOS by by not signing an agreement to honor large scale network interaction limits. Instead Apple went for the public API which is free which caused Facebook to block them.
Sources said Apple went ahead with a plan to access the Facebook APIs freely, but Facebook blocked it since it violated its terms of service.
When that happened, it seems Apple pulled the plug on the connection with Facebook friends.
But in the same post Kara also said that the two companies are talking about putting in a more robust Facebook Connect feature into Ping, because really without it Ping will be a pretty empty place.