Apple Shuts Ping DownBid farewell to Apple's first attempt at social networking, Ping. The music-oriented social network shut down today, surely to the dismay of all ten of its users.
It seems like a rare thing when Apple fails. Their hardware is hotly coveted, their software widely respected. Even their one hobby, the Apple TV, has had success thanks to a redesign to a streaming media player. Ping, however, was a utter failure, one that never managed to find an audience.
Ping was first announced back in 2010, at a special even focused on music. It was supposed to be a social platform for you to talk about music with your friends, get recommendations for new music, etc. And immediately after launch, it seemed like things were going well. Apple even bragged once that it had managed to score a million signups in 24 hours, not a bad number by anyone's imagination.
But the service never managed to take off. Social networks are strange beasts that are hard to launch. You need people to use it to get people to use it, a chicken-and-egg problem that few have managed to crack. Even Google has managed to fail at social networking, despite a massive push to move the company into social.
Ping might have failed thanks to a lack of Facebook integration. Apparently, immediately before launch, Apple was forced to pull its link to the social media giant. When it did so, Ping was left alone. and without the integration, there just wasn't that much reason for people to join.
The Verge notes that this shows how little luck Apple has had in getting customers to use its online tools. Outside of the iTunes Store, few web-based products have been a hit. So far it hasn't hurt the company, but as we move towards a connected future, what will happen to Apple, a company that loves offline apps?