Apple and Facebook Reportedly Negotiated Over Ping for At Least 18 Months

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Silicon Alley Insider reports that Apple and Facebook were in negotiations for at least 18 months about a music-focused social networking service, but that the two companies were unable to strike a deal before Apple decided to launch Ping as part of iTunes 10 earlier this month.

Before Apple launched Ping, its iTunes team was in talks with Facebook for 18 months or more, a source with knowledge of the talks tells us.

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.

When Ping first launched, it offered users the option of using Facebook Connect to find friends who had already signed up for Apple's new music-focused service. The feature quickly disappeared, and Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted that the two companies had been unable to reach a deal due to "onerous terms" imposed by Facebook that Apple could not agree to.

A follow-up report claimed that Apple's initial usage of the normally-open Facebook Connect API was unauthorized due to the volume of traffic it was intended to generate, and Facebook consequently disabled Ping's access to the service. Apple was then forced to remove all signs of the functionality from the site, although the two companies have been said to still be in discussions about Facebook Connect connectivity for Ping.

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