Facebook Adds Apple iTunes to Digital Gifts

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Facebook announced on Monday the addition of iTunes gift cards to its Facebook Gifts digital offerings. The deal is being used to promote Facebook Gifts on Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day of the year.

Facebook Gifts

Facebook Digital Gifts, Now with More iTunes
(Click the image for a larger version)

Facebook Gifts are one of Facebook's efforts at monetizing the billion or so users the social networking giant claims. With Facebook Gifts, those users can buy physical and digital products for their friends. Those friends then get notified within Facebook that they have a gift coming, and in the case of physical gifts, it's delivered to their home.

As for iTunes cards, Facebook said that users can now, "Search for a specific song or album to recommend, or let your friend decide. iTunes digital gifts are available for $10, $15, $25, or $50."

Facebook Gifts

Author's Note: All of My Facebook Friends Are Welcome to Do This
(Click the image for a larger version)

Monday's announcement suggests that relations between Apple and Facebook are thawing. Once upon a time, for instance, Facebook yanked Apple's access to its APIs when Apple was planning to launch its now-canceled Ping social networking service built around iTunes.

Apple pulled the plug on Ping on October 1st, and in its place the company added Facebook "likes" directly to iTunes.

Note that for some reason, Facebook has not rolled out Facebook Gifts to all users. On the Gifts page, some users will get the message that they will be notified when Gifts become available to them. Others will see the options shown in the screenshots above.

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The addition of iTunes gift cards to Facebook Gifts opens up a new revenue stream for both Apple and Facebook. From a financial perspective, that's more important for one of those companies than it is for the other, and we're looking at you, Facebook.

Don't, however, underestimate the importance to Apple of further extending the reach of its iTunes and iOS ecosystem. With everyone and their corporate brother seemingly competing with each other (Amazon sells its own hardware, Google sells smartphones, and Microsoft wants to do both), this is one area where both Facebook and Apple can allow the other to profit while still benefitting themselves.

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This is an interesting symbiosis. Now, I wonder if Google has continued to partner with Apple instead of competing, wouldn’t both companies had profited immensely?

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