Ping Steered Clear of Facebook Over Onerous Terms

| News

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a new music-related social networking service called Ping on Wednesday, and it seems the company intentionally steered away from tying the service into Facebook. Mr. Jobs said his company talked with Facebook about a possible team up, but ultimately wasn’t comfortable with the terms of the deal, according to AllThingsD.

Apple chose not to strike a deal with Facebook because the social networking giant pushed for “onerous terms that we could not agree to,” Mr. Jobs said.

Ping is Apple’s own social networking service targeted at music listeners and tightly integrated with iTunes 10, which the company also introduced at its September 1 media event.

One criticism that’s been leveled at Apple already is that Ping’s closed system should be open so other applications and services can easily tie into it. Apple, however, may not be interested in opening up Ping for branding as well as security reasons.

“Apple’s iTunes has 160 million credit card accounts that it must protect,” an attorney familiar with privacy law told The Mac Observer. “An open API for Ping, without Apple’s privacy policy, would make Apple’s privacy policies thoroughly ineffective, as third parties connecting to Ping would use the private information of iTunes customers as they pleased.”

Regardless of Apple’s motives, it looks like Facebook — and probably any other social network service — will be able to link in to Ping.

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Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Three things… (1) I am revising my standing prediction about Apple so that now, if you wait a month or so, Apple will be embroiled in an epic controversy and it will be someone else’s fault. Come on guys, this is as predictable as my dogs having to go out and do business in the morning. Aren’t you tired of Steve always blaming some new enemy for an inability to work together?

(2) Apple isn’t so incompetent that implementing a “like” API would necessarily expose or risk exposing credit card data, are they? Zynga seems to have been able to figure out how to navigate these waters with 20ish million credit cards in less than two years.

(3) The ultimate value of any network is determined by the reach of connections. Or have they invented some new kind of economics where only purchasing songs from Apple maximizes value of the network for its users?


Brad: Some lawyer said the thing about 160m credit cards, not Apple or anyone who works for Apple. The onerous terms that Facebook was asking could be something as simple as branding disagreements. Or maybe they decided that they didn’t want any part of the Facebook privacy controversy.

I get the feeling that if they HAD set up Facebook integration your post would be about how evil it is that anyone on the internet can find out your favorite music and use it to steal your identity.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

evan: (1) and (2) are separate issues above. I agree with you, the lawyer who seems so knowledgeable about privacy issues doesn’t know jack about common data handling practices. For the record, I don’t think Apple is that incompetent.

If you get that feeling, you don’t read much of what I write. I’m not terribly worried about “privacy” the way “privacy advocates” tend to be because there’s way too much data and way too much noise. You must be talking about someone else.


Bosco, by saying that Apple ‘isn’t that incompetent’, you insinuate that they are, on some level, incompetent.

Hmmm… It looks like they’re doing pretty darn well despite being incompetent and despite not following any of your sage advice. It seems that 99% of what you post here is negative feedback about what Apple does. When are you going to get a clue and figure out that they know what they’re doing, better than you do?

FYI: If you even consider flinging the ‘fanboy’ label at me, I’ll just write you off, permanently, as a witless ‘troll’.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@MOSiX Man: All I’m suggesting is that you guys look deeper into Jobs’ statement blaming Facebook instead of accepting it as obviously Facebook’s fault.

But at least notice a progression in coverage of Jobs doing this. With Flash, people took him seriously. With Antenna-gate, many serious commenters in the press thought it was lame to suck other companies in and basically dishonest the way he did it. And with Facebook, nobody is really paying attention because Ping has fail written all over it if it doesn’t integrate wider. The next step in the progression is that the object of Jobs’ wrath will thank him for the wonderful attention he has given them. Count on it. Steve Jobs is basically that old guy yelling “get off my lawn”.


MOSiX Man, you’re effectively saying that Apple is perfect and can do no bad.

Everyone is incompetent in some level. Remember the G4 Cube? The Newton? No body is perfect and by simply saying that Apple can’t be incompetent writes you off as a very Apple-biased person.


When did anyone at Apple, or here, say anything about anybody being at fault? Steve jobs was just quoted as saying, essentially, that they refused to tie into Facebook because they did not care for, and therefore would not accept, the terms that those representing Facebook were willing to offer. That’s all this article claims, too.

I don’t see this as ‘Facebook’s fault’, at all. Apple is known to fight hard to get terms that favor them, and I’m sure that’s what happened here. Steve might have demanded that Facebook provide a 24-karat gold toilet for his private jet, and couldn’t get that. We just don’t know.

What I do know is that if two parties sit down to negotiate a contract and they don’t come to an agreement, both sides can equally claim that the other wouldn’t agree to terms that they found reasonable. That’s exactly what happened here.


Jobs? statement blaming Facebook instead of accepting it as obviously Facebook?s fault.

Where does “blame” and “fault” come into this?
If two companies can’t agree on the terms of a business deal does it have to be someone’s fault?


Erick, that’s not at all what I said, and definitely not what I believe, so please refrain from putting words into my mouth.

I know Apple has faults and makes mistakes, just like any other organization or individual. As far as everybody being ‘incompetent on some level’, that’s just plain incorrect. Incompetent is defined as ‘not qualified to act in a particular capacity’.

I’m pretty sure that those in charge of running Apple are quite competent, even though they do make mistakes. The proof of this is the phenomenal level of success and growth that they’ve had for the last decade. If there was any real incompetence at/near the top of Apple’s management, Apple could never have become what it is.

The G4 Cube was not a mistake, per se. It was not wildly successful, but those who bought them seemed to like them very much and they were widely lauded for having an innovative design. Could Apple made the Cube better in numerous ways? Sure, but engineering is about trade-offs. Also, I’m sure that Apple learned a fair amount from how the Cube was received by the wider market.

As for the Newton, that was one helluva product for its time. It had (and still has, to some extent) a massively loyal following, and it was the predecessor to virtually all smartphone / portable app device that we see today. I’m sure that Apple didn’t lightly decide to kill the Newton, either. At the time, they had to really tighten their belt and completely focus on their core products to avoid going down the toilet.

Now, those in charge of Apple, prior to Jobs returning and hiring/promoting the right people to get the company straightened out - they were great examples of gross incompetence.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I’ll quote: Apple chose not to strike a deal with Facebook because the social networking giant pushed for ?onerous terms that we could not agree to,? Mr. Jobs said.

By contrast, Facebook’s statement on the matter (found on TechCrunch): Facebook believes in connecting people with their interests and we?ve partnered with innovative developers around the world who share this vision. Facebook and Apple have cooperated successfully in the past to offer people great social experiences and look forward to doing so in the future.

Why is Steve Jobs such an insufferable douche bag? Why can’t he at least pick his battles, if not avoid them? If nothing else, why concede the high road to Facebook? Assume Apple is right. What motivation does Facebook have to move toward Apple’s position now? And now that Steve has dug in, what is the chance that he lightens up? History, especially in 2010, tells us zero chance. Meanwhile, Facebook can find a startup that provides the kind of social graph Apple is attempting to provide with music and turn them into a bigger deal than Apple in the space.


Why can?t he at least pick his battles, if not avoid them?

Uhhh??? He is picking his battles. He’s avoiding this one.

“Why don’t you have support for Facebook?”
“They’re asking for terms we can’t agree with. Next question.”

Or did I miss the “On Facebook” manifesto he posted on

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@evan: I have a website idea for you. Call it In actuality, he used the much more loaded phrase ?onerous terms that we could not agree to”.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Oh, BTW, here are the onerous terms. If you’ve ever had a need to read the Facebook API agreement, you know that they give a lot of free bandwidth on the API away but request that you negotiate usage above certain thresholds. Seems Apple didn’t want to negotiate. Hmmmm.


This is a nice toasty debate, but I would like to remind the interlocutors that no one knows the facts.  All we know is that Apple and Facebook could not come to terms.  None of us here no why they couldn’t come to terms. 

The dispute could very well have been about privacy.  I am familiar with the privacy policies of Google, Facebook, and Apple.  Apple’s privacy policy is much more protective of users’ privacy.  When a third party wishes to have access to a user’s private data, Apple requires that users’ opt-in to the use of their private data; to what private data will be collected and how it will be used, as explained in plain language; that the user have the opportunity to opt-in to the use of his private data for each application; and that once the user informs the vendor that he is ending the relationship, the vendor must either delete the user’s data or sequester the user’s private information and not use it for any purpose.  Neither Google or Facebook have anything like this.  In fact, Google and Facebook’s privacy policies are the antithesis of Apple’s privacy policy.  And because the privacy policies of Facebook and Apple are antithetical, it may well have been Facebook and not Apple that demanded Apple remove the Facebook connection from Ping. 

So the dispute between Apple and Facebook could well have been about privacy, and I think that it was, but we don’t know, and we don’t know which company made the decision not to deal with the other.


For the uninitiated in business and legal matter of this scale, an agreement that apparently required Apple to indemnify Facebook to protect its users’ data and limit network impact are extremely onerous terms.  They are terms that could result in Apple paying millions in damages for any compromise of Facebook’s users’ data, and also Apple paying for any impact of Facebook’s network.  This damages not only have the potential to be vastly expensive; they are open-ended.  Steve Jobs would have been a fool to agree to any such terms, and Apple’s Board would never have stood for it.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Perhaps Apple can partner with Friendster or LinedIn. One thing is for sure, on which both Nemo and I agree (I’m sure). This Facebook hookup won’t ever happen for Ping, because Facebook has no reason to budge.

Welcome to Apple’s SCUOTM (Spectacular Cock-Up of the Month), September edition.


hahaha just like Apple had to rename the iPhone because Cisco had the copyright, right?


Well, never is long time, especially in the high tech business, but I agree that neither company seems to have any basis for doing a deal.  If the Endgaget story is true, Apple would be foolish to accept open-ended liability, which has the potential to be vastly expensive, and Facebook probably won’t change its policy for anything other than access to iTunes’ customers’ private data in a manner consistent with its, Facebook’s, privacy policy, which Apple won’t permit. 

So no deal there.  But Apple already has a large network of users for iTunes, the largest in the world for any online media store, with unparalleled unit sales, so iTunes already has a large enough network to proceed on its own.  And Facebook seems to be doing fine as well.


Apple, for all the brickbats hurled at it by its haters, is a very ethical company.  Facebook is like the Enron or Halliburton of the tech industry.  Is it any surprise that they are unable to come to terms so easily?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Right. Suing companies left and right for violating your agreements, while violating Facebook’s TOS all the way up past launch is “ethical”. Having your semi-private police force raid a journalist’s house because your engineer was too drunk to keep track of a top secret phone is “ethical”. Trashing a developer who has put billions on your bottom line over the decade is “ethical”.

Listen to yourselves. This is what you buy into when you buy into the Apple myth. It wasn’t long ago that buying Apple was a choice. Now it’s some kind of classic religious “indulgence” for some of you. Gag me with a spoon.


Brad: “you said: Ping has fail written all over it if it doesn?t integrate wider”.

Bradster! The Bradinator! Ping CAN’T FAIL, it’s just a feature dude! iTunes will still “sell”! It’s like saying “genius mixes have FAILED because some-percentage of people don’t use them”. Who cares? Apple certainly doesn’t. The feature is there if you want it, if you don’t Apple still collects. Go ahead, DON’T USE IT! Cricket, cricket…

Do you think you are a liberal fighting big corporate control, or a conservative fighting, what do they fight?


Brad it’s not REALLY about Apple is it? Read about Family Systems Theory to see why you say the things you say. Spoiler hint: it’s not your astute analysis of Apple that makes you say what you say, it’s your parent-son relationship!


How about a  wink

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