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.

  1. AAPL:
  2. GOOG:
  3. prompted an apology from CEO Tim Cook:
  4. Los Angeles Times:,0,1193424.story
  5. FB:
  6. P:
  7. streaming radio turf:
  8. IPOPlaybook:
  9. “All About Short Selling”:
  10. “All About Commodities.”:
  11. @ttaulli:

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