Stephen Foley: Apple and Facebook's love-in will end in tears amid fight for big prize
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Saturday 16 June 2012
US Outlook The correct unit of measurement when it comes to coverage of Apple product launches is not column inches, but column miles, and there have been more written than usual this week on the escalating rivalry between the iPhone maker and Google. Sure, the newly unveiled iOS 6 operating system is an aggressive attempt to sideline Google's services on the iPhone and iPad. But the showdown really foreshadowed by iOS 6 is the one between Apple and Facebook.
That might sound counter-intuitive, given that iOS 6 is the first Apple operating system to integrate Facebook, allowing users to share photos or their latest Angry Birds scores direct to their Facebook friends, with a single touch.
The Apple-Facebook partnership is not like the Apple-Google love-in of old, when Google's Eric Schmidt sat on Apple's board and Google Maps and YouTube were designed as integral parts of the iPhone experience. That love-in is rapidly unravelling, with iOS 6 ousting Google Maps as the default location app and improvements to Siri, the iPhone's voice-activated search engine.
All the signs are that the Facebook partnership is a hard-nosed business deal reached at the end of some pretty feisty negotiations. Facebook went as far as launching its own camera app for Apple devices, and hinting that it has restarted work on a Facebook Phone to rival the iPhone, as if to telegraph that it has a powerful go-it-alone strategy.
The business impulse that drove Apple and Google apart will do the same for Apple and Facebook. All these companies are fighting for essentially the same prize. They all want to be the indispensable middleman for our mobile experience. They want to be the place collecting and housing the data on our likes and our locations, on our searches and our social network. They want to be the platform on which software developers create their games and other apps. They want to be the broker for advertisers that want to reach us.
Apple, of course, is more interested in protecting the user experience, to sell more of its high-priced devices; Google is bent on monetising our data through ads; Facebook might end up making more money from mobile commerce across its platform than it does from mobile ads, but we'll see about that. What is for sure is that it needs to bring back activity on to the Facebook platform that now happens in third-party apps on Apple's and other mobile devices.
Apple is putting more and more work into iCloud, its digital locker, which mainly contains users' iTunes music. Facebook is where most people keep their photos. The social network and iCloud are conceptually not that far apart.
Apple's iOS 6, meanwhile, hints at the start, just the start, of something the company has failed to achieve, namely its own social network. Ping, its last attempt, was a dismal failure, but iOS 6 builds in a few intriguing features. It allows new and easier photo sharing via Apple iCloud and there are services for keeping track of the location of family and friends.
Don't be fooled by the partnership deal between Apple and Facebook. It is a temporary marriage of convenience. It can't last.
- 1 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
- 4 Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
- 5 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
David Haines remembered: Death of British hostage executed by Isis lamented from the Balkans to Sudan
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
Jennifer Lawrence to make public appearance after nude photo leaks as Met Gala Ball 2015 co-host
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
iJobs Money & Business
£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...
Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...