Lots of the focus has been placed on Facebook's
battle with Google of late but the real battle has been simmering in the background and it's between Apple and Facebook. The 2 companies have had an uneasy relationship over the last couple of years without it ever simmering over in to a full battle but that is all about to change in the coming weeks. In truth Facebook was never big enough nor were the 2 companies really in the same field but as Facebook grows in to a platform and their business goals converge things are about to get very interesting. Here is why Apple and Facebook are about to start competing in a major way...
It's coming up on 18 months since the iPad was released and even though many are saying that it is the new face of computing and Apple have sold 10s of millions of devices Facebook have still not launched an app. It is utterly bizarre that Facebook would neglect a platform like this for so long. In recent weeks there have been rumors that it is about to launch but there are whispers that Facebook could even be holding it back to spite Apple. The other alternative is that because Facebook wants to become a platform itself for apps maybe they are trying to figure out a smart way to bypass the Apple app store completely via their own app. Either way consumers are losing out by not having the best Facebook experience on the platform that would probably suit it best.
Image via Techcrunch
It's pretty common knowledge that Facebook are about to launch their new music service on the 22nd of this month and that it is going to be spectacular. One of Apple's main revenue streams is of course iTunes and they must see the emergence of a Facebook music platform as a serious risk to them. Nobody knows for sure what the platform will look like but if it is streaming instead of downloads and it works well as expected then that could lead to less people downloading music from iTunes and that will mean Facebook will be hurting Apple where it hurts most which is in the pocket.
Apple more or less invented the notion of an app store and even took themselves by surprise with the huge success that it has enjoyed. Native apps though could come under pressure from HTML apps in the browser and this is where Facebook is trying to wedge itself in to Apple's territory. For close to a year now Facebook have been working on Project Spartan which is their mobile solution to take Apple on directly and get people to start spending credits on games instead of going through the app store on Apple devices. Facebook wants and needs to control the mobile space in the same way it has created a platform for games on the desktop. Apple isn't about to let it's control on apps go lightly though but what is emerging is a battle between distribution platforms which developers and publishers need in order to sell more of their games, apps and media.
Apple Backing Twitter
In iOS5 the latest operating system Apple have released for their mobile devices they decided to go with a very deep integration with Twitter instead of Facebook. There were rumors that Facebook was the original partner but that things fell apart but by sidelining Facebook and taking sides with Twitter the battle lines were clearly drawn in the sand. It would probably have made far more sense to have the deep social graph of Facebook embedded in to iOS but the threat from Facebook is probably too great and Apple decided to go without them.
Facebook Credits Versus App Store
This all comes down to making money. Facebook wants to become a platform for all sorts of media including movies and music and that is right at the center of Apple's business model. Through their app stores and iTunes Apple have been the defacto platform up until now and people have downloaded billions of paid items but Facebook are a huge threat and with a billion users on the way they will be a very serious player. Facebook haven't fully rolled out their credits seamlessly yet but they will over the next year and as they also try to bypass the App store this is about to get very interesting. Nobody has really seen this little battle emerging but make no mistake about it Apple and Facebook are about to start competing directly for real on multiple fronts.
For extra insights listen to this from Scoble.