iTunes 10 brought along with it Apple’s boldest attempt yet to create a social network for music. Dubbed “Ping”, Apple’s feature enables users to gather information and news about their favorite artists, share favorite tunes with their buddies, and ideally, discover new music in the process.
Initially, Apple was hoping to deeply integrate Ping with Facebook, a combo which would have resulted in a number of intriguing possibilities. But as Steve Jobs explained to Kara Swisher of All Things D back in early September, Facebook’s terms were too burdensome for Apple. And lest you think that this was some fly-by-night idea that Apple quickly attempted to implement before moving on, thing again. BusinessInsider reported a few weeks ago that Apple and Facebook were in serious negotiations with each other for 18+ months in an attempt to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
While we don’t know the details of their discussions, it makes sense that Apple may have wanted to build Ping as a music-tracking and sales service on top of Facebook’s social graph. This could have allowed Apple to get what it wanted out of the relationship — more iTunes and iPod sales — without having to build a social network from scratch.
And now, in light of that, comes word from the LA Times that Steve Jobs recently invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over for dinner in his Palo Alto home. The report notes that the two discussed Ping, but without a third party there, it’s really hard to know exactly what the two icons discussed.
The relationship, which began on such friendly terms years ago when Apple was Facebook’s first big commercial sponsor through its Apple Students group, has gotten complicated now that Facebook has asserted itself as one of Silicon Valley’s major players. But there would be friendship with significant benefits for both parties if Apple and Facebook could strike a deal.
Either way, something’s afoot in the hills of Silicon Valley.