The big 3 have never been easy bedfellows. Apple on hardware/software, Google on search and Facebook on social. While you would expect rivalry to be intense between them, Apple have just taken it to another level : by issuing a snub that could actually be to their own detriment. Apple have just announced the release of the latest version of Mac OS X : Mountain Lion. On the surface it looks like an excellent update with some amazing features such as being able to send a message to an iPhone from your desktop. Yet in their new social functionality called 'sharesheet' they are dealing a huge blow to Facebook and Google. Both are absent from the new sharesheet that has been announced with the launch (with Google's absence noted by Youtube being omitted from the service), that is planned for this Summer. This will enable you to share content from within a particular app directly with a social platform. And as Om Malik points out, Twitter are about to win big here, as they've been chosen as one of the social sharing partners of choice, by Apple. They have a large presence on this new sharing system, featuring across a range of services to share links, photos and more.
Yet the two social services that you would expect to be present in an addition like this, are not. Furthermore to Facebook not being included as a sharing partner for links etc.., Vimeo has been selected as the video sharing platform. Now both Twitter and Vimeo are by no means insignificant social platforms, but they are not the 2 that immediately spring to mind when you think 'social network' and 'video'.
A snub too far?
Now Apple's decision to exclude Facebook and Youtube from this service may be understandable, but only up to a point. And certainly not up the point that is at a detriment to user experience. It is almost embarrassing that Google/Youtube and Facebook are so absent from this. Apple is well known for making its presence felt and throwing its weight around, but the fact is that even though Mountain Lion looks pretty cool, it could be even cooler were Facebook and Youtube integrated. I don't have a Vimeo account (a lot of people don't) and I'm not going to get one just so I can share videos through there on my Mac. Nor am I going to open a Flickr account - their photo sharing platform of choice - to share photos when I actually just want to share them via Facebook. So what should be an intuitive social experience right from your desktop is going to be fairly limited due to this absence.
This may not be the worst we've seen things get between Facebook and Apple in particular. We've had Facebook attack Apple by introducing Facebook credits through mobile and tablet browsers - taking on the App store. But when you see the rivalry hit a level that sees Apple's service being discredited in the process, you have to look at what Apple are really standing to gain here. It is also in contrast to Facebook's new way of doing things, which is seeing them operate in a much more openly collaborative culture, even working to promote other social networks on the site. Unusually we're seeing Apple getting a bit left behind here, exercising their power to their own detriment. Now having said that, this is hardly a different kind of Apple altogether.
They are not exactly well known for collaboration, with the company goings-on often shrouded in mystery as they stake an incredibly strong hold over their own products. This is often painfully demonstrated in their treatment of developers. And Apple and Google will likely remain enemies eternally. But when we see such a large omission as this, it makes Apple look a little bit desperate in their desire to snub Facebook and Google. A desperate Apple is not the Apple we know and love.
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