Apple-Facebook relationship almost ended over HP TouchPad (rumor)

Summary:We already knew about two episodes that caused Apple and Facebook to hate each other (iOS 4 and Ping). Now we're learning of another one: the HP TouchPad.

The Apple-Facebook relationship is widely accepted to be a very strained one. Obviously neither of the companies have ever said so publicly, but many examples have shown as much. Recent rumors suggest there has been a turnaround in the past few months, and that we will see the fruits of it next week. In the meantime, Mashable has detailed yet another reason the two have been having bonding problems: the HP TouchPad.

About three months ago, Apple CEO (at the time) Steve Jobs reportedly visited Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to yell at him over the HP TouchPad, which only further exacerbated the connection between the two companies. Jobs was furious when he learned about the webOS Facebook app during his summer visit to Palo Alto.

Apple wanted Facebook on the iPad first, and HP wanted Facebook on TouchPad first. Zuckerberg had previously promised Jobs that its first-ever tablet app would be for the iPad.

Jobs thus believed Facebook was betraying Apple. Facebook develops its own apps for iOS and Android, while HP develops the Facebook app for webOS, RIM develops the Facebook app for BlackBerry OS, and Microsoft develops the Facebook app for Windows Phone.

Facebook was more interested in fixing its relationship with Apple than building on its ties with HP. In Fearing his company's relationship with Apple would be ruined for good, Zuckerberg vowed to get the app pulled. He failed.

Jon Rubinstein, the former CEO of Palm and then the GM of HP's webOS division, refused to halt its release. Facebook responded by restricting HP's access to its APIs.

The app ended up shipping with the production model on July 1 (screenshots leaked a few days earlier). It was essentially a hacked build that was missing significant features.

Facebook was playing both sides in order to receive maximum exposure on both platforms, according to a source close to HP. Facebook knew about HP's app for the social network, but changed its stance at the last minute to appease Apple.

HP was hoping the app would differentiate the TouchPad from other tablets on the market. Another source says HP was considering legal action, but because the TouchPad has since been discontinued, that's not going to happen.

There have been at least two previous episodes we've heard about that has resulted in hate between the two companies. The first had to do with iOS and the second had to do with Ping.

Facebook was supposed to be integrated into iOS 4. Cupertino wanted to code its own Facebook features because it lacked confidence in Palo Alto's ability to build a great app, so it built the social network into its mobile operating system. Facebook said no and negotiations broke down. Apple then went with Twitter in iOS 5.

After that, Apple debuted Ping with Facebook integration but did not get permission from the social networking giant. Facebook denied Apple from using Facebook Connect in Ping because Cupertino didn't give Palo Alto any warning about the feature, which would have cost a lot of bandwidth for Facebook. Apple was forced to remove the integration.

The relationship between the two technology giants is starting to turn around, however, possibly because they both share a mutual enemy: Google. Facebook doesn't have a mobile platform and Apple doesn't have a social network.

Rumor has it that the two will finally show off some big things next week: Facebook will finally launch its iPad app and will also reveal its HTML5 app platform, possibly at Apple's iPhone 5 event on Tuesday. It won't be long now.

See also:

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Social Enterprise

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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