Apple’s Ping Gets Plunked

by Tom Taulli | October 2, 2012 1:01 pm

When it comes to creating insanely great devices, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL[1]) has a nearly flawless track record.

The same can’t be said for software.

The most recent (and most publicized) example was Apple’s horrible mapping app, which replaced Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG[2]) app as the default on its new operating system — and ended up being so flawed that it prompted an apology from CEO Tim Cook[3], where he even recommended rival services … including, ironically enough, Google.

Well, Apple has suffered another software failure that hasn’t gotten as much attention: Ping.

Launched a few years ago, Ping was Apple’s attempt to create a social network focused on music. At the time, it seemed like a no-brainer: After all, wouldn’t Apple users want to connect with friends and comment on their iTunes’ playlists?

Unfortunately, Ping was a lousy service and got little attention from Apple in the two years since its launch. And, according to the Los Angeles Times[4], the company closed down the service on Sunday.

Funny enough, Apple will instead partner with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB[5]) and Twitter.

In all fairness, it is incredibly difficult to build communities. Just look at the struggles of Google to get its G+ users engaged.

Yet the Ping episode does highlight an important consideration for investors: Apple does have its vulnerabilities. Add in Maps, as well as the troubles it has had with its Siri voice-recognition program, and that becomes even more important.

The lesson to be learned: Apple isn’t to trifled with, but the company’s move into a new category — for instance, nosing into Pandora‘s (NYSE:P[6]) streaming radio turf[7] — doesn’t constitute a lock.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook[8], a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “All About Short Selling”[9] and “All About Commodities.”[10] Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli[11]. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Endnotes:
  1. AAPL: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=AAPL
  2. GOOG: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=GOOG
  3. prompted an apology from CEO Tim Cook: http://investorplace.com/2012/10/tim-cook-unapologetic-apple-maps-apology-is-oddly-familiar/
  4. Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-apple-ping-social-network-20120928,0,1193424.story
  5. FB: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=FB
  6. P: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=P
  7. streaming radio turf: http://investorplace.com/ipo-playbook/apple-eyes-pandoras-turf-investors-flee/
  8. IPOPlaybook: http://investorplace.com/ipo-playbook/
  9. “All About Short Selling”: http://www.amazon.com/All-About-Short-Selling/dp/0071759344/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1302184310&sr=1-1
  10. “All About Commodities.”: http://www.amazon.com/All-About-Commodities/dp/0071769986/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_10
  11. @ttaulli: https://twitter.com/ttaulli

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