Well, this is an interesting double standard. Remember Apple’s reaction to Palm trying to tap into iTunes? They were pretty pissed, right? Well, it seems that in Apple’s world, it’s not okay to access their services unauthorised, but when Apple needs to do the same to someone else’s services, it’s suddenly not a problem. As it turns out, Apple violated Facebook’s terms of service, knowingly, and willingly.
One of the many announcements made by Apple yesterday was Ping, yet another social network thing geared towards music. It is built straight into iTunes (which now officially has more features than Mac OS X itself), meaning it has a potential user base of 160 million.
In order to find friends on Ping more easily, Apple included technology to connect to other social networks and search for your friends there. Facebook is a likely candidate, obviously, and its name indeed appeared on stage during Jobs’ demo. The ability to connect to Facebook in Ping also appeared in iTunes 10 for some who downloaded it, but the feature was completely turned off rather quickly. It is still being advertised on Apple’s site.
We now know why. Kara Swisher details how Apple and Facebook were in negotiations about connecting Ping to Facebook. Facebook Connect is an open API and doesn’t require permission for individual use, but when it comes to repeated access (160 million iTunes users, go figure), a special agreement is needed with Facebook to protect user data, and, obviously, to manage infrastructure impact.
Apple didn’t like Facebooks’s terms, so the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement. Terms of service are apparently only valid when they’re Apple’s, because agreement or not, Apple turned on Facebook Connect on Ping anyway. As a result, Facebook blocked Ping, since it violated its terms of service. Apple then pulled the plug on the feature entirely.
In the end, both Facebook and Apple are companies which are pretty pure embodiments of evil, but from a company which so fiercely defends its own terms of service, you’d expect some respect for other’s. Word has it the two are still negotiating, so the feature may still arrive.
And yeah, you guessed it. Slow day. There’s only so much I can write about Android tablets with no shipping date.