Google, Facebook and Boxee Respond to Apple
Update 2: Swisher reports that Facebook blocked API access to Ping after failing to strike an agreement with Apple, so Apple removed the feature after launch. She credits "sources familiar with Facebook’s platform" with this information.
Update: With regards to Facebook and Ping, Dan Frommer points out that the screenshots Apple used in its prsentation actually did show Facebook integration. MG Siegler also notes that he actually was able to connect to Ping with Facebook, but then it disappeared. It appears that Apple may have pulled Facebook from it at the last minute. Siegler writes:
I can tell you for sure that yesterday Facebook Connect was a part of Ping — because I used it.
When I first loaded iTunes 10 yesterday and started up Ping, connecting with Facebook was the first thing I did to find friends. At first, I will say that it didn’t work. I hit the Connect button, entered my credentials, and nothing happened. But I tried again and it worked perfectly. I found a handful of Facebook friends who had just started using Ping as well and connected with them.
He also claims that he’s still connected to the Ping app from within Facebook and that while Facebook isn’t on iTunes, it’s still live.
Original Article: At Apple’s music event yesterday, where the company launched a new version of iOS, a new version of iTunes with a new social network (Ping), a new line of iPods, and a new version of Apple TV, Steve Jobs took a shot at Google involving numbers of smartphone activations.
Last month, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that Android gets over 200,000 devices a day.
"People throw out a lot of numbers about how many devices they’re activating per day," Jobs is quoted as saying. "We are doing 230,000 activations a day. We think our friends may be counting upgrades – if we were counting upgrades, that would be way higher."
Fortune has a quote from a Google spokesperson responding to those comments: "The Android activation numbers do not include upgrades and are, in fact, only a portion of the Android devices in the market since we only include devices that have Google services."
Ping, the iTunes social network, is like Facebook or Twitter meets iTunes. That’s the way Jobs described it in the announcement, anyway. While that may be the case, and it may even resemble Facebook, there is no integration with either Facebook or Twitter (or other social networks).
Kara Swisher was able to speak to Jobs about this, who said Facebook wanted "onerous terms that we could not agree to." When asked about integrating Facebook Connect to help people find their friends, Swisher quotes him saying (or shrugging rather), "We could, I guess."
She also got this statement from Facebook on the matter: "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 cooperated successfully in the past to offer people great social experiences and we look forward to doing so in the future."
Om Malik at GigaOm calls Ping "the future of social commerce". "From a content perspective, there are three different types of media we love to talk about: movies we see, music we listen to and books we are reading," he says. "These are accepted social norms. In fact, many relationships are made on the basis of collective love of a movie and many friendships have started with mixed tapes."
Boxee, whose Boxee Box is due out in November, had some comments on Apple’s Apple TV announcement. These two are now direct competitors. On the Boxee blog, Avner Ronen writes:
We think people want to be able to watch anything that they can watch on their computer, only on their bigscreen TV. There is an overwhelming consumer expectation that the content we can consume in our cubicles, our dorm rooms, and in our laps should be available in our living rooms, in full 1080p with a gorgeous interface. It’s a simple premise, but the challenge is to do it in a way that makes sense in that space, so you can put your feet up, grab a remote and start watching. No keyboards, mice, windows or labyrinthine menus. It should be calm and it should be beautiful. And it *must* be open.
We all watched the Apple announcement. We walked away feeling strongly confident about the space it left for Boxee to compete. We have a different view of what users want in their living rooms. We are taking different paths to get there. The Boxee Box is going to be $100 more expensive than the Apple TV, but will give you the freedom to watch what you want.
We think it’s worth it.
NewTeeVee has a comparison of Apple TV, the Boxee Box, and Roku, which some have also said is superior to the new Apple TV.