In her report back then, Swisher mentioned that some Facebook executives were irked by design similarities they noted between Ping and Facebook. Apple's stance, as expressed by Jobs, was that Facebook wanted more personal data about Ping users than Apple was willing to share.
But how much protection is too much protection?
I tweet. I tweet too much. But my wife, parents, mother-in-law, and most of my local friends either created and abandoned their Twitter accounts, or never visited the service at all. But they all have Facebook accounts—and use them.
If Apple's customers want and could benefit from Facebook integration—and I think they do and would—perhaps Apple should follow in the footsteps of a company that wanted to protect its users privacy, but eventually decided to put the decision in its customers hands. That company? Apple.
When it launched in-app subscriptions for the iOS App Store, Apple initially told publishers that Apple would own all the customer data and not share it. Apple eventually loosened up a bit, offering customers the option to opt-in to sharing their data with publishers. It's a fine solution, in that it (mostly) appeases publishers, and certainly keeps customer privacy paramount.
That's the same approach Apple should take with Facebook integration: If users are willing to share with Facebook, Apple should offer them a systemwide means to do so.
Lex Friedman is a Macworld staff writer.