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Apple to kill Ping with next major iTunes release

Apple will reportedly kill off the Ping iTunes service when iOS 6 is launched this fall, euthanizing the social music network that has suffered waning participation since its introduction in 2010.

According to sources close to the matter Apple will finally abandon Ping when the next iteration of iTunes rolls out alongside iOS 6, confirming rumors that the service is not long for this world, reports All Things D.

In his spotlight session at the D10 conference in May, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company might kill off Ping but vowed to add more social integration into its products, a promise fulfilled when system-wide Facebook integration for iOS 6 was announced at WWDC on Monday. Facebook inclusion adds to the already-installed Twitter functionality of iOS 5 which allows users a variety of options like tweeting photos and webpages.

While Ping is still active in the recently-released iTunes 10.6.3, which brought iOS 6 beta compatibility to the media management software, sources say that the social network will be redacted in the program's next major release currently scheduled for this fall. Apple will instead move to rely on social network companies like Twitter and Facebook which already have huge installed customer bases.

Ping first debuted in 2010 when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled iTunes 10. "It's sort of like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes," Jobs said of Ping, and went on to say that the network was all about music. At the time critics had mixed feelings about the feature's future prospects.

Initial adoption was promising as over one million users signed up within the first 48 hours, but momentum slowed and it seemed Ping was destined to become yet another Apple side project.

It was later revealed that Apple had contacted Facebook for possible integration with the worldwide social network, but "onerous terms" kept that from becoming a reality. Hopes were rekindled when Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was invited to by Jobs to discuss Ping over dinner, though the talk apparently bore no fruit.

The music discovery network has since been downgraded with no substantial updates in the pipeline, meaning that the end is likely near.

“We tried Ping, and I think the customer voted and said ‘This isn’t something that I want to put a lot of energy into,’” Cook said.