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Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 12:45 pm PT (03:45 pm ET)

Ping talks between Apple, Facebook failed after 18 months - report

Apple and Facebook were reportedly in negotiations for a year and a half before a deal for connectivity with Ping, Apple's fledgling music-centered social network, fell apart at the last minute.

Apple's iTunes team was in talks with Facebook for 18 months, and perhaps more, before the launch of Ping, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told Silicon Alley Insider. The report went on to cite industry insiders who said that Facebook can be "abrasive" when dealing with other large companies, comparing the social networking site to Microsoft in the mid- to late-1990s.

"From what we hear, this is the new sound of working with Facebook, which is now big enough — and has such important data — that it knows it's one of the most important companies in Silicon Valley," the report said.

After Ping was introduced earlier this month, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs revealed that the iTunes-based service is not tied in to Facebook because, he said, the website demanded "onerous terms." He said that Apple and Facebook talked about a variety of partnership opportunities, but could not come to a deal.

Author Dan Frommer speculated that Apple originally intended to have Ping serve as a service that would drive iTunes sales through the already-established Facebook network.

"This would 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," he wrote.

After the talks apparently fell apart, Apple included a "Facebook Connect" login interface without a deal in place. Facebook then allegedly responded by blocking API access to Ping.

Despite the lack of Facebook integration, Ping managed to register more than a million users in its first 48 hours. The opt-in service is built in to the new iTunes 10, and can also be accessed from the iTunes application on the iPhone.