Ping loses Facebook Connect, over ‘onerous terms’September 2, 2010
One day after Apple’s Sept. 1st even, and one day after iTunes 10 with the Ping social music network released, the question is, what happened to Facebook? After all, Facebook was mentioned in the event as a way to “find friends” (one slide clearly says “find friends via Facebook or e-mail”). However, it’s not a working part of Ping.
Some who installed Wednesday said that they were able to use Facebook Connect as part of Ping. Then, logging in on Thursday, they said it was gone. Others (like us) never saw the Facebook Connect feature at all, instead being told to use email to invite friends to Ping.
The short version of the story appears to be that while Facebook’s APIs are generally open access, the developer agreement states that if someone needs to use the APIs and will have enough of an impact on Facebook due to a large number of users (and the sheer number of iTunes users would qualify), they are asked by Facebook to “please contact us as you may be subject to additional terms.”
So what happened? It depends on who you ask, but according to AllThingsD, the answer you’ll get from Apple CEO Steve Jobs is that Facebook wanted Apple to agree to “onerous terms.” What exactly that means is hard to say, but it’s pretty well known that its Apple that drives a hard bargain. What’s onerous to Apple may simply be “disadvantageous to Apple.”
Why was it in Ping and the out? The word on that is that Apple decided to go ahead and use the APIs anyway (as with their tendency toward arrogance we could see) and Facebook blocked them. At that point, Apple had no choice but to remove it.
At the same time, it looks like the two giants will eventually cooperate, if for no other reason than they seemingly have to. Here’s a statement from Facebook:
“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 co-operated successfully in the past to offer people great social experiences and look forward to doing so in the future.”
Problematically for some users, in order to use Ping, you have to be in iTunes. While it’s not uncommon for people to have their browser up all the time, along with access to say, Facebook and Twitter, iTunes is a fairly heavy app (to be kind), and keeping that up and running doesn’t seem to interest users. One comment that reflects that came from musician Jason Mauer, as a Tweet:
Ping, the iTunes social network. like I want to spend more time in iTunes. it’s like having a social network in prison.