Apple Ping: is imitation a smart strategy?

CIOL Bureau
New Update

BANGALORE, INDIA: Apple's entry into the social networking media with a music-specific platform called Ping has raised the question as to whether it has the potential to take on Facebook. The question has gained further momentum with the reports that Ping is not integrated with Facebook Connect because the companies couldn’t agree on terms.


According to Ovum analyst Adrian Drury, Apple is borrowing from the greatest hits of the pioneers of social content recommendation and discovery for its Ping service.

“Songbird, Spotify,, 7Digital will all recognize elements of their services in this new venture by Apple, but imitation can be a smart strategy,” Drury said in a statement.

“Social recommendation takes the Genius recommendation engine into a new dimension. Again this is nothing new from a service point of view, but iTunes is the 800 pound gorilla in the digital music market and if successful, will have a material impact on overall digital sales,” the analyst added.


According to him, at this early stage in the development of the service, the challenge for Apple will be to persuade users to actually spend time in the Ping environment. “Facebook, MySpace and other social discovery environments now have very rich feature sets that drive dwell time.”

The problem with Ping is that it has music track previews that you can already get in iTunes.

“The service is also set up to drive users to follow featured artists rather than individuals in their social graph, which may have hit the network effect potential of the service. While Apple has over 160 million iTunes retail customer accounts, it has no mandate yet to host them as a social community. It will be interesting to see how Apple learns from the first iteration of Ping,” Drury added.