When it comes to creating insanely great devices, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) 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) app as the default on its new operating system — and ended up being so flawed that it prompted an apology from CEO Tim Cook, 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, the company closed down the service on Sunday.
Funny enough, Apple will instead partner with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) 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) streaming radio turf — doesn’t constitute a lock.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.